Delivering ACT Government subsidised training

The ACT Government, through Skills Canberra, contracts registered training organisations (RTOs) to deliver subsidised training to eligible students.

RTOs may apply to Skills Canberra to receive funding to deliver nationally accredited training for any of the following ACT Government training initiatives:

  • Australian Apprenticeships (User Choice)
  • Skilled Capital

To receive funding and be listed on the ACT Qualifications Register as a funded provider, the RTO must have a funding agreement, and comply with the ACT Quality Framework.

The funding agreement sets out the terms and conditions under which the ACT Government may make funds available towards the cost of an RTO delivering subsidised training to eligible students. Holding a funding agreement does not however guarantee funding.

 

ACT Funding Agreement (ACTFA)

The term of the current ACTFA expires 30 September 2019.

RTOs with an ACTFA must continue to comply with the ACT Quality Framework until its expiry.

Clause 4(13) of the ACTFA requires RTOs to notify Skills Canberra in writing within 14 calendar days of any significant changes in circumstances pertaining to the ACTFA.

Significant changes may include, but are not limited to:

  • any changes to the RTO's key personnel responsible for servicing the ACT, including but not limited to changes to its executive or non executive management, chief executive officers or chief financial officer
  • a change in RTO ownership
  • a change to the RTO's legal and/or trading names
  • the RTO changing the address of the principle place of business in the ACT.

An RTO can notify Skills Canberra of any change of circumstances by submitting an RTO Change of Circumstances Notification (PDF 162KB) or by forwarding a copy of the notification form required by the Australian Skills Quality Authority by email to Skills Canberra.

On receipt of the notification, Skills Canberra reserves the right to seek further and more detailed information on the change, and may determine at its sole discretion, that such a change is sufficient to require the RTO to re-apply for a new ACTFA.

Clause 6 of the ACTFA states the mandatory terms and conditions regarding subcontracting and other third party arrangements.

For the purposes of the ACTFA, the definition of subcontractor and third party is interchangeable (refer clause 21 – Definitions and Interpretation) and has the same meaning as applied by the Australian Skills Quality Authority for the term ‘third party’ (refer Appendix 1 Glossary - Standards for Registered Training Organisations (2015)).

Circumstances in which the Territory considers the arrangement between an ACTFA holder (Recipient) and another party (either an RTO, other entity or individual) constitutes a subcontracting arrangement requiring written approval by the Territory include, but are not limited to:

  • where the Recipient engages an RTO that does not hold an ACTFA or an organisation that is not an RTO, to conduct any training and/or assessment on its behalf
  • where any day to day responsibilities for the management of training delivery and/or assessment, for example administration of student records, is deferred to another individual or organisation.

The following instances do not, for the purposes of the ACTFA, constitute a subcontract arrangement that require written approval by the Territory:

  • trainers and/or assessors hired as contractors or under an employment agreement
  • agencies, organisations or individuals contracted to deliver additional support, wrap around or work experience coordination services.

To apply for written approval, both the Recipient and the proposed subcontractor must complete an Application for Subcontracting Arrangement Approval (PDF 169KB). Failure to receive approval from Skills Canberra prior to commencing the use of any subcontracted service will be considered a breach of the ACTFA and will constitute a default under clause 16 of the ACTFA.

The written agreement between the Recipient and the subcontractor for the intended subcontracting arrangement must establish the responsibilities of each party, for example, how the Recipient will manage the subcontracting arrangement and ensure compliance with the ACTFA. The written agreement may be the same agreement developed for Australian Skills Quality Authority's requirement under 2.3 of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.

The written agreement must also include the names of all persons employed by the proposed subcontractor who will be involved in the training and/or assessment and their qualifications.

The written agreement must be in place prior to commencing the subcontracted service.

 

Training Initiative Funding Agreement (Agreement)

The new Agreement commences on 1 October 2019 for an initial term of 2 years.

Training Initiative Funding Agreement template (DOCX 147KB) or (PDF 660KB)

 

Changes in the new Agreement

The Agreement more clearly reflects the arrangement between the parties, including how funding is applied for by RTOs and managed by the Territory. Changes from the previous agreement are to clarify the rights and obligations of the parties, and apply consistent language to the document. Other amendments correct issues identified with the previous agreement. In particular, the Agreement includes the following:

  1. a provision on how to apply for Funded Places, and how Funding in respect of particular students is approved and calculated
  2. the 'ACT Standards' are now a formal schedule within the Agreement and are incorporated in the terms of the document. There is also now a clear process by which the ACT Standards may be updated by the Territory
  3. clarification of the mechanism by which the Territory must be reimbursed in respect of Subsidised Training not delivered in compliance with the ACT Standards and the Agreement, particularly where a Compliance Audit identifies issues
  4. Transition Out provisions to clarify each parties obligations on termination of the Agreement, which sets a clear process for transfer of students and requirements on continued delivery of Subsidised Training
  5. amended provisions in relation to entities or people that are 'disallowed'.

To coincide with the commencement of the new Agreement, a new release of the ACT Standards Compliance Guide for Australian Apprenticeships - Version 4.0 (DOCX 6.29MB) or (PDF 1.43MB) and the ACT Standards Compliance Guide for Skilled Capital - Version 3.0 (DOCX 5.13MB) or (PDF 1.41MB) have been published with effect from 1 October 2019.

The ACT Quality Framework and the Audit Guide for Training Providers in the ACT are currently under review.

 

Application Process

Applications for the new Agreement open on 8 July 2019 and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis.

The application process has 2 steps:

Step 1

RTOs must complete and submit an online application form through the ACT Vocational Education and Training Administrative Records System (AVETARS). An AVETARS user account is not required to access the application.

For RTOs seeking to hold an Agreement from 1 October 2019, the online application form must be submitted by 16 August 2019.

Step 2

RTOs are required to undertake a financial viability assessment with the Independent Financial Assessor, Corporate Scorecard.

For RTOs seeking to hold an Agreement from 1 October 2019, it is expected that all required financial information will be supplied within 2 weeks of receiving contact from Corporate Scorecard. For applications received during 12 – 16 August 2019, the financial information must be supplied by no later than 23 August 2019.

 

Application Guidelines

The Training Initiative Funding Agreement Application Guidelines (DOCX 917KB) or (PDF 842KB) provide detailed information about the application process. RTOs are strongly encouraged to review the Guidelines before completing their application.

If you have any enquiries regarding the Agreement or the application process, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions - Training Initiative Funding Agreement (DOCX 139KB) or (PDF 208KB) or email Skills Canberra. The Directorate will respond to all enquiries within 5 business days.

 

Assessment Timeframes

RTOs that have submitted the online application form on or before 16 August 2019 will be notified of the assessment outcome by 13 September 2019.

The anticipated assessment time for applications received after 16 August 2019 is 2 months.

Delivering fee-for-service training

RTOs may choose to negotiate fees for the delivery of Australian Apprenticeship training directly with the employer and not apply for User Choice funding.

RTOs that wish to offer training for Australian Apprenticeships under a fee-for-service arrangement only do not need an ACT Funding Agreement.

To be approved as a fee-for-service provider of apprenticeships training on the ACT Qualifications Register, the RTO must understand and agree abide by the ACT Statement of Expectations (PDF 355KB) by completing a RTO Nomination for Fee-for-Service Delivery (DOCX 74KB) or (PDF 142KB) and emailing it to Skills Canberra.

The nomination form will be assessed within 7 to 14 calendar days of receipt.

The outcome of the assessment will be notified in writing. RTOs that are unsuccessful may re-apply 6 months after receipt of the written outcome.

ACT Quality Framework

The ACT Quality Framework (PDF 1.04MB) (the Framework) underpins the delivery of training in the ACT. The Framework has been developed to promote excellence, transparency and quality in the vocational education and training sector in the ACT.

The Framework's components support the ACT Government's strategic direction for a flexible and responsive training sector that delivers high quality training.

The ACT Statement of Expectations (PDF 355KB) (the Statement) outlines the expectations for registered training organisation (RTO) conduct in the provision of training in the ACT.

The Statement is structured around 4 key principles of professional conduct. These principles serve as a minimum benchmark for professional behaviour and ensure public confidence in the integrity of the vocational education and training sector in the ACT.

The principles act as a point of reference for all ACT stakeholders including RTOs, business and industry, and students.

The ACT Standards for Delivery of Training (the Standards) outline the mandatory standards for registered training organisations (RTOs) in the management and delivery of training in the ACT. They apply equally to all RTOs with an ACT Funding Agreement (ACTFA) and those offering Australian Apprenticeships on a fee-for-service basis.

The ACT Standards Compliance Guides (Compliance Guides) outline the mandatory requirements for delivering training in each training initiative.

The ACT Government uses a range of audit methods to assess registered training organisation (RTO) compliance with the ACT Quality Framework. The Audit Guide for Training Providers in the ACT (PDF 613KB) (the Guide) provides information about the audit strategy for ACT Government training initiatives.

The Guide provides the context, key objectives and an overview of the end-to-end audit process. It also provides information on the type of audits conducted and provides the methodology for RTO and student file sample selection.

Under an Agreement each registered training organisation (RTO) must conduct an internal audit a minimum of once every calendar year to self-assess its current level of compliance with the Agreement and associated schedules.

The objectives of the RTO internal review are to:

  • assist RTOs meet their contractual obligations
  • assist RTOs meet the minimum service requirements of each ACT funded training initiative
  • promote quality training and assessments systems
  • ensure accurate reporting and record keeping practices
  • provide a set of outcomes for RTOs to self-assess compliance and assist in establishing a framework to identify and develop improvement practices.

All RTOs with an Agreement must use the RTO Internal Review Tool (the tool) to conduct and record the outcome of its own annual internal audit. In addition to being a contractual requirement, the tool should form part of the RTOs internal controls.

With the introduction of the new Agreement on 1 October 2019, Skills Canberra has waived the requirement for RTOs to undertake an internal audit in 2019.

The next RTO Internal Review Tool will be released in the first quarter of 2020 with an anticipated due date in September 2020.

AVETMISS reporting

The Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) provides a national framework for the consistent collection and dissemination of vocational education and training (VET) information throughout Australia by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

For more information on national AVETMISS requirements refer to AVETMISS support for RTOs on the NCVER website.

All RTOs with an ACT Funding Agreement must collect and report AVETMISS data on all ACT government funded training activity on a quarterly basis.

The 2019 ACT AVETMISS Reporting Guide (DOCX 1.6MB) or (PDF 626KB) provides direction to RTOs on how to interpret, implement and comply with the AVETMISS reporting requirements for the NCVER VET Provider Collection.

RTO activity data must be validated using the online NCVER AVETMISS Validation Software. The validated AVETMISS files and validation summary report (csv file) must then be lodged in the ACT Vocational Education and Training Administration Records System (AVETARS).

RTOs that have no funded AVETMISS activity to report for the collection period, must advise Skills Canberra via email to AVETMISS reporting. RTOs that have active student records on AVETARS and have no activity to report should review the records and, where applicable, contact Skills Canberra to advise the student status so that the appropriate action can be taken such as cancellation. This does not apply to new enrolments.

The ACT Vocational Education and Training (VET) AVETMISS Data Standard (DOCX 100KB) or (PDF 367KB)  outlines data requirements for RTOs to be eligible to claim payments in AVETARS. The document is based on the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) AVETMISS Data Element Definitions document with ACT specific AVETMISS requirements added.

For further information, please email Skills Canberra or telephone (02) 6205 8555.

My Profiling

My Profiling is a patented education profile tool which offers a suite of products across all ACT Australian apprenticeship qualifications. The tool enables on-the-job and off-the-job activity to be tracked and includes live updates to a digital training plan that can be accessed by all relevant parties.

Following a small pilot led By Skills Canberra at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) in 2016, the CIT and a small group of private RTOs implemented use of the My Profiling tool across a range of apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications throughout 2017.

Qualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology
  • Certificate III in Busines
  • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
  • Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade
  • Certificate III in Hairdressing
  • Certificate III in Carpentry
  • Certificate III in Commercial Cookery

My Profiling will complement Skills Canberra’s ACT Vocational Education and Training Administration Records System (AVETARS) through increasing the range of services and support available to RTOs to streamline their compliance activities. It will also assist in improving ACT Government and RTO engagement with employers, apprentices and trainees.

My Profiling will provide Skills Canberra access to data and statistics through a purpose built dashboard. In addition, Access Canberra will receive a purpose built dashboard to support occupational licensing and regulatory activity in the ACT.

The implementation of My Profiling will contribute to the evidence base used to inform policy and decision-making. There are many anticipated benefits to be realised through the trial, such as:

  • improved communication and engagement between RTOs, employers and apprentices/trainees through use of this tool
  • potential reduction in RTO and employer compliance and regulatory issues
  • increased awareness in the community regarding employer, apprentice and trainee obligations and responsibilities
  • increased unit/qualification completions as a result of the support this tool offers to employers, apprentices/trainees and RTOs
  • improved work safety practices in high risk trades through proactive education/awareness activities able to be provided by this tool
  • reduced administrative workload for RTO staff
  • employers will be more easily able to identify linkages between structured training and on-the-job activity relevant to the qualification being undertaken by their apprentices/trainees
  • the trial will assist Skills Canberra to gather feedback from local industry associations, employers and apprentices/trainees on how this tool adds value to their ability to collect and validate workplace evidence, and to easily communicate with their RTO.

An evaluation of the My Profiling trial has been conducted to assess stakeholder satisfaction on the access, usability and functionality of the My Profiling product and to determine if benefits identified at the outset of the trial could be realised through practical implementation of the product.

The evaluation has provided benchmark data that will be used in a more in-depth evaluation of the product anticipated to occur by the first quarter of 2019. This evaluation will inform policy and decision making relating to the regulation of work related training by the ACT from 2020 onward.

The evaluation includes:

RTO Forum

RTO Forums provide an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with Skills Canberra on current and future vocational education and training activities and related matters. The forums offer information to stakeholders about potential future directions occurring in vocational education and training in the ACT and various ACT and national funding and professional development opportunities.

The last forum was held on Wednesday 10 April 2019 and the next forum will be held in late 2019.

 

Skills Canberra presentations:

Josephine Andersen
Executive Branch Manager, Skills Canberra

 

Jodie Kafer
Director, Governance and Assurance

 

Kelly Aldred
A/Director, Engagement and Client Services

 

Guest presenters:

Peter Adamek
Chief Executive Officer, Canberra Innovation Network
@petradamek
@cbr_in
Canberra Innovation Network

 

Jana Clyde
Director, Wisdom Learning
2018 ACT Small Training Provider of the Year
Wisdom Learning

Compliance workshop

Skills Canberra provides a 1 day professional development workshop for RTOs delivering training under an ACTFA.

The workshop focuses on assisting RTOs to understand the components of the ACT Quality Framework including the ACT Government’s expectations for delivering quality training and complying with administrative and reporting requirements. The workshop provides information and support on how RTOs are able to demonstrate and maintain compliance with a selection of clauses, standards and requirements from the ACTFA and associated schedules.

Workshops are scheduled according to the level of stakeholder interest and demand. Please email Skills Canberra to register your interest.