Achieving and maintaining compliance is obviously an enormous undertaking for a registered training organisation of any size. It is achieved with substantial planning from the outset and throughout the RTO’s existence, as the institution needs to adapt to changing circumstances and consistently improve on its processes and procedures in order to stay compliant with the VET Quality Framework or the AQTF. For this reason, an organisation looking to gain approval should seek professional support to develop strategies and techniques.
As well as getting assistance from professional RTO consultants, keeping up-to-date with compliance requirements and looking to understand the processes is crucial. In fact, possibly the most important part of what an RTO support specialist does is to train and educate management on compliance with the applicable standards such as the National VET Quality Framework including the five legislative instruments or if regulated by Victoria or Western Australian then by the AQTF. Here are some basic tips that every potential RTO should keep in mind.
- Internal audits should be as strict as possible. This means you’ll be as prepared as you can be on the day of the regulators audit. While some of the evidence of the RTO’s compliance may be uploaded to a secure cloud, auditors are likely to request information that exists only as a hard copy (CV’s, staff qualifications, receipts). Make sure you’ve got this paperwork handy as it’s your responsibility to produce it if requested.
- Ideally, you should conduct full internal audits yearly, and/or conduct mini-audits every month and cover a few standards from input to output. Conducting a mini-audit every month means that you can stay on top of non-compliances that you might otherwise have not noticed, and that may have become more of an issue later on.
- The VET Quality Framework [or AQTF, if State Regulated] standards for RTOs are subject to change and reform quite frequently, for example the new AVQS which will be the New National Standards in the coming years. So it’s very important that you keep up-to-date with current compliance requirements. You should commit to regularly visiting the ASQA website and constantly educating yourself as much as possible.
- Understand that committing to constant improvement benefits the organisation in more ways than one. A strict audit effectively reveals shortcomings and deficiencies of the assessment process - effectively the efficiency - of the organisation. Risk and quality management issues are therefore also taken into account and acting on an audit ensures that the quality of the education offered remains high.