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2014 Archived News

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 2014 News

 For more recent news, see the News main page.

9 December 2014: Strengthened protections for apprentices and trainees

The authority that an employer has over an apprentice means that apprentices and trainees, particularly young people, can be at risk.

The VRQA has enhanced the existing employer approval process to strengthen protections for apprentices and trainees in Victoria. These changes do not place any greater burden on employers, apprentices and trainees.

From 1 January 2015, new employers seeking to register a training contract at an Australian Apprenticeship Centre will be asked to make declarations about their background, including relevant indictable offences and any findings or convictions in relation to workplace safety, pay and conditions.

Employers will have the option of providing this information by filling out and signing a (non-statutory) employer declaration form, or a statutory declaration.

The VRQA will work with BUSY At Work to undertake regulatory field services visits to a sample of employers to verify the information provided as part of the employer’s declaration. Employers who choose to provide this information via a statutory declaration will not be visited.

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 the VRQA must have regard to whether employers and any supervisors of apprentices and trainees are fit and proper persons.

The VRQA has worked closely with industry and government stakeholders in developing the strengthened employer approval process.

For further information, contact Chris Ingham Executive Manager Apprenticeships and Traineeships, VRQA on (03) 9032 1518 or ingham.christopher.j@edumail.vic.gov.au.

9 December 2014: 2015 fees

From 1 January 2015, with the exception of VET fees, VRQA fees and charges will increase to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Victorian Government’s policy on cost recovery.

In August 2014, a Ministerial Order was made to hold 2015 VET fees for VRQA-registered RTOs at 2014 levels. The freeze is a temporary measure for 2015. During 2015 it is anticipated that VET fees for 2016 onwards will be set. 

For further information, see VRQA Fees and Charges.

9 December 2014: New obligations to help protect children: Betrayal of Trust implementation

A number of changes to the Crimes Act 1958 (Crimes Act) and the Working with Children Act 2005 (WWC Act) have recently been implemented as part of the response to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations.

The VRQA has written to VRQA-registered independent schools, RTOs, stakeholders and employees of apprentices and trainers under the age of 16 to alert them to the changed requirements.

New obligations to report suspected child sexual abuse

A new ‘failure to disclose’ offence has been created under the Crimes Act. The offence commenced operation on 27 October 2014.

All adults are now required to disclose to the Victoria Police if they know or reasonably believe that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child under the age of 16.

A number of circumstances are specified in the Crimes Act where a person is not obliged to make such a disclosure. For example, if a disclosure has been made under the existing mandatory reporting system, a person will not be required to make a further disclosure under the Crimes Act.

The new offence, however, applies more broadly than to the professionals currently subject to mandatory reporting requirements under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. The new ‘failure to disclose’ offence is likely to include some persons in school environments not currently subject to mandatory reporting requirements.

For further information about the new offence, please refer to the fact sheet prepared by the Department of Justice.

Changes to the Working with Children Act 2005 affecting ministers of religion

The definition of child-related work has changed in respect to ministers of religion under the WWC Act. All ministers of religion are now required to hold a working with children check unless the contact that they have with children is only occasional and incidental to their work.

The changed requirements apply to a range of paid and unpaid roles in religious communities.

The Department of Justice has prepared an information sheet Working with Children Check: Information for Ministers of Religion to assist in understanding and meeting the new requirements.

Further information is available at the Betrayal of Trust Implementation website created by the Department of Justice.

9 December 2014: Reminder: Applications now open for streamlined process for changes to scope

Registered training organisations (RTOs) can apply to the VRQA for a standing application to assist in keeping their scope of registration up-to-date.

A standing application authorises the VRQA to amend an RTO’s scope of registration when:
  • an amendment to a training package product already on the RTO’s scope of registration occurs; and
  • the training package product has been determined by the relevant Industry Skills Council to be equivalent to the current unit of competency or qualification it is superseding.

RTOs wishing to lodge a standing application must complete Form E: Standing Application for Amendments to Training Packages and submit it to the VRQA. The VRQA has produced a Guide to Form E to assist RTOs with this task.

There is no fee to lodge a standing application or in relation to changes to an RTO’s existing scope of registration made under a standing application.

For more information see: Amending scope of registration.

9 December 2014: Delivery of HLTAID first aid units

Details of the new release of the HLTAID first aid units of competency (HLTAID001 – 007) can now be accessed on Training.gov.au.

The mapping for the first aid units has been updated and is available in the Implementation Guide for HLT Health Training Package Release 1.4 October 2014.

Further information is available at:

5 November 2014: Disruption to the TYIMS and DELTA databases

A disruption to the TYIMS and DELTA databases occurred on the 30 October 2014. The disruption has been rectified, however, slight delays may be experienced in processing training contracts and changes of training contract status. We apologise for this inconvenience.Urgent enquiries may be directed to vrqa.apprenticeships@edumail.vic.gov.au. 

 

30 October 2014: Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the VRQA and the Fair Work Ombudsman

In September, the VRQA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman to help improve compliance with federal workplace laws relating to apprentices and trainees.Contract signing photo

The VRQA has a strong working relationship with the Fair Work Ombudsman. Formalising this relationship via the MoU helps the VRQA to perform its regulatory role in ensuring apprentices, trainees and their employers meet their training contract obligations.

Fair Work Ombudsman and VRQA representatives will meet at least twice a year to share information and discuss issues concerning the employment of apprentices and trainees.

VRQA Director Lynn Glover co-signed the two-year MoU with Michael Campbell, Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman (Operations) in September 2014. 

30 October 2014: VRQA Strategic Plan 2014–16

The VRQA  continues to contribute to a quality education and training system in Victoria. The VRQA  mission, priorities and initiatives for 2014–16 are set out in the VRQA Strategic Plan 2014–16 (pdf - 805.88kb).

30 October 2014: VRQA Annual Report 2013–14

The VRQA Board is proud of its achievements over the first 50 meetings. Our most recent achievements are set out in the VRQA Annual Report 2013–14 (doc - 16.27mb).

16 October 2014: VET fee freeze for 2015

The Minister for Higher Education and Skills has approved a Ministerial Order to hold 2015 VET fees for VRQA-registered RTOs at 2014 levels.

The freeze is a temporary measure for 2015. During 2015 it is anticipated that VET fees for 2016 onwards will be set. 

For further information see: Fees.

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16 October 2014: Standing applications to reduce fees and streamline processing for VRQA-registered RTOs

New arrangements for RTOs registered by the VRQA will reduce fees and make it easier for eligible RTOs to keep their scope of registration up-to-date.

On 18 August 2014, the Minister for Higher Education and Skills directed the VRQA to allow eligible RTOs to make a standing application to amend their scope of registration in certain circumstances.

A standing application will authorise the VRQA to amend an RTO’s scope of registration when:

  • an amendment to a training package product already on the RTO’s scope of registration occurs; and
  • the training package product has been determined by the relevant Industry Skills Council to be equivalent to the current unit of competency or qualification it is superseding.

RTOs wishing to lodge a standing application will need to complete Form E: Standing Application for Amendments to Training Packages and submit this to the VRQA. The VRQA has produced a Guide to Form E to assist RTOs with this task.

There is no fee to lodge a standing application or in relation to changes to an RTO’s existing scope of registration made under a standing application.

For more information see:

16 October 2014: COAG endorses new national standards

At the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council meeting on 26 September 2014, State and Territory Ministers endorsed new national standards for RTOs and VET regulators. 

The standards have been developed in order to recognise the different level of risk posed by different RTOs, to enable regulators to deal effectively with poor quality in the sector and to reduce regulatory burden for RTOs.

The new standards will apply from 1 January 2015 for providers seeking to be registered with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), with the standards applying to existing ASQA providers from April 2015.

In Victoria, amendments to the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 would be required prior to the VRQA implementing the new standards.  Any Victorian legislative changes will be delayed due to the November state election and the need for government to move to caretaker mode. 

Until any required legislative changes occur in Victoria there is no change to Victorian regulatory processes for those RTOs that are regulated by the VRQA. In the interim, the Australian Quality Training Framework and VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers will be retained.

VRQA-registered RTOs are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new standards as they are made available.

For more information see Vocational Education and Training Reform.   

16 October 2014: Unique Student Identifier (USI) system available

The Unique Student Identifier (USI) system can now be accessed by RTOs at the www.usi.gov.au website developed by the Commonwealth Department of Industry. The Department of Industry is writing to all RTOs to advise them of the new arrangements. RTOs have previously been alerted to the system coming into effect by the Department of Industry, who are responsible for the USI system. While the USI Registry System is available now, it is not compulsory for students to obtain a USI until the scheme comes into effect on 1 January 2015.

RTOs can access further information, including support materials, and establish access to the new system by visiting www.usi.gov.au.

Enquiries regarding the USI system should be directed to the Department of Industry using the contact details listed on www.usi.gov.au

30 September 2014: Updated VRQA Guidelines for Registered Schools on Bushfire Preparedness

The VRQA Guidelines for Registered Schools on Bushfire Preparedness have been updated to include several new requirements for schools.

For more information see: VRQA Guidelines for Registered Schools on Bush Preparedness (doc - 97kb).

 

30 September 2014: Updated Guide to the Minimum Standards and Other Requirements for School Registration

The Guide to the Minimum Standards and Other Requirements has been updated to reflect a number of changed requirements including:

  • Ministerial Order 706: Anaphylaxis Management in Victorian schools
  • VRQA Guidelines for Registered Schools on Bushfire Preparedness.
 

30 September 2014: Overseas Secondary Student Exchange Programs – new information for schools

New information, including FAQs, has been released to assist schools to manage enquiries about overseas secondary student exchange programs.

For more information see: FAQs – Information for Principals and School Administrators.

30 September 2014: Reminder: Form B - Applications for amending scope of registration (VET)

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are reminded that all Form B applications to amend the scope of registration must be received by the VRQA no later than Monday 20 October 2014 in order for any required site audits to be scheduled in 2014.

For more information see: Amending Scope of Registration

30 September 2014: VRQA responds to the Ministerial Statement of Expectations

The VRQA has published its response to the Statement of Expectations for the VRQA provided by the Minister for Education and the Minister for Higher Education and Skills.

For more information see: Statement of Expectations

 

14 July 2014: Streamlined process for transitioning apprenticeship or traineeship qualifications

Changes to processing arrangements from 1 July 2014 will make it easier for registered training organisations, employers, apprentices and trainees to ensure that training contracts reflect the most up-to-date qualifications.

 A single form can now be submitted to an Australian Apprenticeship Centre to request to transition a apprentice/trainee qualification. The VRQA works with Australian Apprenticeship Centres to ensure that training contracts specify the correct qualification.

 For more information see: Transitioning to a new qualification

 

14 July 2014: VET - Unique Student Identifier (USI) update

The Minister for Industry, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP has released a media statement to announce the passage through the Senate of the Student Identifiers Act 2014.

The legislation confirms that 1 January 2015 will be the commencement date of the unique student identifier (USI) scheme. The scheme will allow students to build an online record of their vocational education and training attainments and qualifications.

The Department of Industry will work with training providers and other key stakeholders over the coming months to assist with preparations for implementation. The USI system will be available for students and training providers to create and collect USIs from October 2014.

To access the media statement see Online training records on the way.

 

25 June 2014: Several VRQA phone lines are currently unavailable

This disruption is affecting the main VRQA contact phone number 03 9637 2806 (general enquiries) and the 1300 722 603 phone line (enquiries relating to apprenticeships and traineeships).

 Urgent enquiries to the VRQA may be directed to vrqa@edumail.vic.gov.au (for general enquiries) or vrqa.apprenticeships@edumail.vic.gov.au (for enquiries relating to apprenticeships and traineeships).

25 June 2014: New first aid units

On Tuesday 27 May 2014 the VRQA received advice from the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS & HISC) regarding the HLTAID first aid units.

The advice is that CS & HISC are reviewing the current first aid units and that changes to these units will also undergo public consultation.

For more information see: New first aid units.

16 June 2014:Statement of Expectations

In response to the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s 2011 Inquiry into Victoria's Regulatory Framework, the Victorian Government has agreed to issue Ministerial Statements.

 The Hon. Martin Dixon MP, Minister for Education and the Hon. Nick Wakeling MP, Minister for Higher Education and Skills have provided a Statement of Expectations for the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority.

For more information see: Statement of Expectations.

16 June 2014: Financial management for independent schools

The VRQA and Somerset Education have produced the Financial Management for Independent Schools booklet for independent schools operating in Victoria. Financial Management for Independent Schools booklet outlines some important factors that contribute to financial sustainability, common causes of financial stress, and methods for diagnosing the financial health of independent schools.

For more information see: Financial management for independent schools.

10 June 2014: VET - RTO Clinics

The VRQA will hold VET - RTO Clinics on 20 June and 16 July 2014 (now cancelled).

VRQA representatives will be in attendance to answer individual RTO queries regarding their impending application for amending their scope of registration.

These question and answer sessions will assist VRQA-regulated RTOs with any queries they may have with extending their scope of registration. These may include questions about:

  • trainer/assessor curriculum vitae (CV) and qualifications
  • nominal and delivery hours of qualifications
  • units of competency
  • other evidence required to demonstrate readiness to deliver training.

RTOs may attend on either of the dates scheduled. There is no charge to attend the clinics and bookings are not required.

For more information about the clinics see:  VET - RTO clinic event

 

7 May 2014: Unique Student Identifier for Vocational Education and Training (VET) Students

 The Commonwealth Government has developed the Student Identifiers Bill 2014 to establish a legal framework for the introduction of a unique student identifier (USI) for vocational education and training (VET) students.
 
 Under the proposed arrangements, from 1 January 2015, students enrolling in a nationally recognised VET course will be required to obtain a USI and provide this to Registered Training Organisations.
 
The Department of Industry has released a series of frequently asked questions to assist RTOs to understand the proposed changes and prepare for the introduction of unique student identifiers.
 

The frequently asked questions and further information about the USI initiative is available from the Department of Education and training.

15 April 2014: Several VRQA phone lines are currently unavailable due to a fibre cable disruption affecting the Melbourne CBD

This disruption is affecting the main VRQA contact phone number 03 9637 2806 (general enquiries) and the 1300 722 603 phone line (enquiries relating to apprenticeships and traineeships).

Major telecommunications carriers are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Urgent enquiries to the VRQA may be directed to vrqa@edumail.vic.gov.au (for general enquiries) or vrqa.apprenticeships@edumail.vic.gov.au (for enquiries relating to apprenticeships and traineeships).

15 April 2014: Information Sheet No. 2

In order to provide our stakeholders with useful information that will assist them to make informed decisions we have developed the first information sheet for 2014.
 
This information sheet features statistics on ​International students in schools in Victoria (pdf - 59.82kb).

27 March 2014: New VRQA Board members appointed

On 17 March 2014, two new members were appointed to the VRQA Board. The new Board members are Mr Brian Welch and Mr Paul Kirk.

Mr Welch, recently retired from his Executive Director role at the Master Builders Association of Victoria, brings strong industry and governance experience to the Board.

Mr Kirk, Managing Director of Collins Pitt Associates has more than 30 years of expertise in the areas of business strategy, risk management and corporate governance.

Their biographies are available on the VRQA Board web page.

27 March 2014: Report into Apprenticeship and Traineeship Completion released by Victorian Auditor-General’s Office 

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has released its report into Apprenticeship and Traineeship Completion.

The report assesses the extent to which the relevant funding, policy, administrative and regulatory arrangements support the completion of apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria.

 The report identifies that regulation has an important role to play in supporting completion of apprenticeships and traineeships.

 The Auditor-General noted in the report that the VRQA has been proactive in identifying and acting on risks and issues associated with regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships.

 For more information see the VAGO report: Apprenticeship and Traineeship Completion.   

27 March 2014: Release of new Ministerial Order for anaphylaxis management in schools

A new Ministerial Order regarding anaphylaxis management in schools comes into effect on 22 April 2014.
 

 Ministerial Order 706 sets out the steps schools must take to ensure the safety of students at risk of anaphylaxis in their care. These requirements are a minimum standard for school registration. Ministerial Order 706 replaces Ministerial Order 90 which had been in effect since July 2007. 

For more information see: Anaphylaxis Management in Schools (DET).

27 March 2014: Extension to deadline for accessing exemptions to VET activity reporting requirements

From 1 January 2014, all registered training organisations (RTOs) must collect and report on training activity to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

For RTOs that need additional time to establish procedures and prepare their systems to meet the new reporting requirements, a 12 month grace period is available. Full exemptions from reporting training activities are available for RTOs that provide training related to national security, border protection, policing, vital emergency, fire, first-aid and rescue services.

The deadline for applications for the grace period and exemptions to reporting requirements has been extended and must be received by 31 March 2014.

For more information about accessing exemptions, see: New mandatory VET activity reporting requirements.

For more information about the reporting requirements, see: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

27 March 2014: Information Sheet No. 1

In order to provide our stakeholders with useful information that will assist them to make informed decisions we have developed the first information sheet for 2014.
 
This information sheet features statistics on home schooling (pdf - 55.23kb) in Victoria.

7 March 2014: VRQA Annual Client and Stakeholder Research 2013 released

 Each year the VRQA conducts an annual survey measuring aspects of provider and stakeholder satisfaction with the VRQA and its regulatory processes. A summary of the VRQA Annual Client and Stakeholder Research 2013 has been published and is available to download below. 

In addition to an education provider study, the 2013 research incorporated for the first time an apprenticeships and traineeships engagement study reflecting the VRQA’s responsibility for the administration and regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships.

The research concluded that there is strong satisfaction with the VRQA among education providers and stakeholders, with significant improvements recorded on important indicators since 2012. These results reflect the enhanced information the VRQA has provided in 2013 to education and training providers in relation to our regulatory processes, and our strengthened engagement with stakeholders.

The research also suggests that we can improve the information provided to apprentices, trainees, employers and stakeholders about the regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria; and, build on our engagement with relevant stakeholders.

In response to the findings, in 2014 the VRQA will focus on engagement with the apprenticeships and traineeships sector, and will continue to enhance our website and other communications.

The VRQA wishes to thank all education providers, employers and stakeholders who participated in the 2013 research. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2014.

Any queries regarding the research may be directed to vrqa@edumail.vic.gov.au.

 

13 February 2014: Fit and proper person declarations for Registered Training Organisations

Directors, senior officers and substantial shareholders of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) who are in a position to influence the management of the organisation must satisfy ‘fit and proper person’ requirements under Condition1 of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration.

The VRQA has developed a Fit and proper person declaration (doc - 586kb) for use by RTOs in meeting fit and proper person requirements.

13 February 2014: Industry-based dispute resolution and student welfare schemes for Registered Training Organisations

A number of legislative changes regarding industry-based dispute resolution and student welfare schemes have recently come into effect.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) regulated by the VRQA and not exempted from the 'principal purpose' requirement are covered by the new arrangements. The VRQA estimates this to be about 150 RTOs. Please note RTOs will only be required to comply with the notification provisions if a relevant scheme is approved.  Further advice will be provided to affected RTOs if any scheme is approved.

The Education and Training Reform Amendment (Skills) Act 2010 (Skills Act) was enacted by the former government and received Royal Assent on 19 October 2010. Amongst other changes, the Skills Act amended the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (ETRA) to provide for the Minister's approval of industry-based dispute resolution and student welfare schemes for RTOs and for regulations to set out additional criteria for the approval of such schemes. These new arrangements are included in the ETRA at Part 4.6A—Complaint Handling and Dispute Resolution. Following the issuing of the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Dispute Resolution and Student Welfare Scheme) Regulations 2013, which came into effect on 1 January 2014, the relevant administrative arrangements are now included in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007.

Approval of any industry-based dispute resolution and student welfare scheme was delegated by the Minister for Education to the Director, VRQA on 7 January 2014.

For more information see:

13 February 2014: Managing scope of Vocational Education and Training registration

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are responsible for managing their scope of registration in accordance with Condition 9 of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration.

This includes removing any training package or accredited courses that have expired or appear as ‘non-current’ on training.gov.au.

RTOs must complete the relevant sections of Form B - Application for Amending Scope of Registration if they wish to remove a course or unit from their scope of registration, or if they no longer have the capacity to deliver a course or unit. There is no charge for removing items from scope of registration.

Please note that an information workshop will be held on 3 March 2014 in relation to amending scope of registration.

For more information see:

13 February 2014: Information sessions for Vocational Education and Training providers

Application for amending scope of registration workshop

The VRQA will hold an information workshop on Monday 3 March 2014 for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) intending to add qualifications and/or units of competency to their scope of registration. The focus will be on compliance obligations for RTOs and what to expect from the desk review/site audit process.

Applicants will find the information sessions useful in managing the requirement of Form B - Application for Amending Scope of registration.

For more information see: Form B - Application for Amending Scope of Registration workshop.

Pre-registration information and financial management guidance session

This half-day information session is intended for those wanting to become an RTO in Victoria. It covers:

  • how to apply to become an RTO registered by VRQA
  • VRQA’s two phase audit process
  • compliance with AQTF standards
  • financial management guidance.

Registration with VRQA is available for organisations who will deliver to domestic students in Victoria only.

Organisations wishing to deliver training outside of Victoria and/ or to international students must apply to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for registration.

For more information see: Pre-registration information and financial management guidance session for Vocational Education and Training (VET).

13 February 2014: Information sessions for schools and non-school senior secondary education providers

 Information sessions for schools and non-school senior secondary education providers will be held by the VRQA in early 2014.

 The VRQA regularly provides information sessions to assist organisations understand the minimum standards for school registration and amendments to school registration. 

 

The VRQA also provides information sessions for organisations seeking to gain registration as non-school senior secondary education providers.
 
Please note that registrations close one week before the session. Further details and a registration form are available on the VRQA website through the links below. 

Financial health workshop

A financial health workshop for new schools and for schools amending their registration will be held in early 2014. Details of this workshop will be published on the VRQA website.

For more information see:

3 February 2014: New option for former home schooled students to complete VCE or VCAL

Parents who are home schooling older children now have the option of enrolling their child in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program with the Distance Education Centre Victoria (DECV).

Further information about enrolling in the DECV program for VCE or VCAL is available in the DECV Enrolment Handbook Secondary Years 10 - 12 which may be accessed from the DECV website through the link below.

Parents who choose the VCE or VCAL program with DECV need to cancel their child’s home schooling registration with the VRQA as a child cannot be simultaneously registered for home schooling and enrolled full-time with DECV.

To cancel a home schooling registration, please notify the VRQA in writing of the cancellation by emailing home.schooling@edumail.vic.gov.au or writing to the VRQA at GPO Box 2317 Melbourne, Victoria 3001.

Upon cancellation, the VRQA will provide parents with a cancellation letter that can be used as proof that they are eligible to be registered by the DECV.

For more information see:

 

 

News archive

 

For past news articles from 2010, 2011,  2012, 2013 see: VRQA news archive.