Consultation on unduly short courses and training product reform


The Australian Government is exploring a number of potential enhancements to the vocational education and training (VET) sector. These enhancements are focused on ensuring that students and employers receive training that is high quality, responsive to the needs of industry, and meets the future needs of the workforce.

In this context, the Australian Government consulted on two aspects of the system between December 2017 and March 2018, being:

  • unduly short courses, and
  • training product reform

The consultations for unduly short courses and for training product reform were conducted simultaneously to ensure complementarity.

Unduly short courses

In June 2017, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) released its strategic review on unduly short courses. The review made three recommendations, that:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 be amended to include a definition of the 'amount of training' that focuses on supervised learning and assessment activities
  • training package developers be able to respond to industry-specific risks by setting mandatory requirements, including an amount of training
  • RTOs be required to publish Product Disclosure Statements that include the range of learning activities expected, including the amount of training, for each training product on their scope of registration.

In December 2017, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP announced public consultations with VET stakeholders on the implementation of ASQA's recommendations. A discussion paper was also released to support the consultations and public submissions to the process.

The discussion paper outlines the reforms currently being explored by the Australian Government.

Training product reform

Technological changes, changing growth industries and how workers engage with labour market are among a range of economic forces changing the future of work and the skills required by the Australian workforce. It is imperative that training products remain adaptable to a range of factors that will affect workforce trends. In this changing environment, training products must provide learners with the skills and capacity to enable them to achieve a broader range of employment opportunities or further study.

In November 2016, skills ministers agreed for work to be undertaken to examine and develop a case for change to enhance training products, in partnership with industry and in consultation with the VET sector. This work ensures that training products continue to be relevant in the future, and support skills development as technology and industry changes.

A Joint Working Party, including comprising state and territory and industry representatives was established to undertake this work. The Joint Working Party reported back to skills ministers in November 2017 on the case for change and recommended next steps. Skills ministers agreed to continue exploring enhancements to the design of training products through consultation on a discussion paper and the case for change.

Following this consultation, in October 2018 the COAG Industry and Skills Council considered the views of stakeholders and skills ministers agreed to progress training product reform by undertaking pilots and projects to test proposed enhancements. The COAG Industry and Skills Council will consider recommendations based on this evidence and further research in 2019.


Between 14 December 2017 and 9 March 2018, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training consulted on unduly short courses and training product reform. VET stakeholders were encouraged to consider and respond to the respective discussion papers. 

A total of 64 written submissions were received by the department on training product reform, of which 49 agreed to be published on the department's online submissions portal. These submissions informed the Joint Working Party's advice to the COAG Industry and Skills Council on the proposed next steps for training product reform when it meets in October 2018.

The department received a total of 99 written submissions on unduly short training, of which 75 agreed to be published on the department's online submissions portal. In October 2018, these submissions informed the COAG Industry and Skills Council's request for further advice from ASQA about the implementation of its recommendations. 

VET reform workshops

To support consultations and assist stakeholders in developing their written submissions, the department hosted nine face-to-face consultation workshops in February and March 2018. The slides used at these workshops are available here:


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