World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2012-08-14

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

The Australian TVET system is managed by a number of governmental and independent agencies which work within the National Skills Framework (NSF). The National Skills Framework sets out the national training system's requirements for quality and national consistency in terms of qualifications and the delivery of training. The NSF applies nationally and has been endorsed by the Standing Committee on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE), which comprises the Australian and State and Territory Ministers with relevant responsibilities.

The Framework is made up of three components - the VET quality framework (formerly the AQTF), the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and Training Packages.

  • The VET Quality Framework (which replaces the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF)) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia’s vocational education and training system.
  • The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework.
  • Training Packages are a set of nationally endorsed standards and qualifications used to recognise and assess the skills and knowledge people need to perform effectively in the workplace. They consist of three components - entry requirements, assessment guidelines and competency standards. Training Packages define what competencies need to be achieved and can be used by training providers to develop teaching and assessment strategies meeting the needs of learners in a given industry. Training Packages are developed by the Industry Skills Councils (ISCs) through consultation with industry stakeholders; are consequently endorsed by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) and finally listed in an official register by the National Training Information Service (now To become a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), training providers seek registration through the Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA) or state-based registration bodies in some jurisdictions.
TVET legislation

A number of state and territory laws regulate different aspects of TVET in Australia. The most fundamental laws are listed below.

The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development 2012 identifies the long term objectives of the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments in the areas of skills and workforce development, and recognises the interest of all governments in ensuring the skills of the Australian people are developed and utilised in the economy.

The National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform 2012 aims to improve outcomes in vocational education and training (VET), through the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments working together to achieve those outcomes. This could include integration of innovative new technologies and delivery modes to deliver greater responsiveness to the needs of students and foster improved engagement with industry.

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 established the TVET regulating body (Australian Skills Quality Authority). The Skills Australia Amendment (Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency) Bill 2012 amends the Skills Australia Act 2008 and establishes the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, which has replaced Skills Australia from 1 July 2012. The Agency engages directly with industry on workforce development issues and addresses sectoral and regional industry needs.

The Skilling Australia’s Workforce Act 2005 (amended in 2010) links state and territory funding to a set of goals and conditions for training outcomes.

The Skilling Australia’s Workforce (Repeal and Transitional Provision) Act 2005 provides transitional arrangements for transferring responsibilities held by Australian Training Authority (which was repealed by the same Act) to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Furthermore, territory laws supplement the existing legal framework for TVET:

  • Australian Capital Territory: Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003
  • New South Wales: Vocational and Training Act 2005 and Vocational Education and
  • Training (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010
  • Northern Territory: Northern Territory Employment and Training Act
  • Queensland: Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act & Regulation 2000
  • South Australia: Training and Skills Development Act 2008
  • Tasmania: Tasmanian Vocational Education and Training Act 1994 & Tasmanian
  • Qualifications Authority Act 2003
  • Victoria: Education and Training Reform Amendment (Skills) Act 2010
  • Western Australia: Vocational Education and Training Act 1996.”

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2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme extracted from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII ed. Australia.

Formal TVET system

TVET can start at secondary level but more commonly occurs as a post-schooling option for adults. Secondary school (or high school) lasts between five or six years depending on the state or territory. Depending on their interests and career plans, senior secondary students can choose vocational training options (typically in grades 10-12) which count toward both their Senior Certificate of Education and a TVET qualification; and following their graduation, they can continue at a vocational training institution.

Schools who wish to offer TVET in Schools programs (in some States and Territories) can use a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) under an auspicing arrangement where they are not registered to provide TVET in their own right. In others (such as Queensland) all schools are also RTOs.

The vast majority of VET students are adults (covering the whole age range) and study part-time. Training can be institutionally based or workplace based and a sizeable proportion is through apprenticeships and traineeships as part of a contract of training between an individual, their employer and a training provider.

Vocational training institutions award certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas and in a few cases, bachelor degrees. Some TVET diplomas and advanced diplomas are recognised as credits at university level.

At a higher level, students can acquire a vocational graduate certificate (typically courses take six months to one year) or a vocational graduate diploma (typically lasting one to two years) in a vocational profession; however the numbers of students in these qualifications are small. Vocational graduate diplomas as a qualification are currently being revised in Australia.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

Non formal learning in the Australian context refers to learning that takes place through a programme of instruction but which does not usually lead to the attainment of a formal qualification or award (e.g. in-house professional development programmes conducted in the workplace). Non formal learning can be recognised sometimes under recognition of prior learning RPL principles to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards for entry to, and/or partial or total completion of, a TVET qualification.

Informal learning refers to that learning which results from daily work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities (e.g. the acquisition of interpersonal skills developed through the experience of working as a sales representative). Informal learning can be in the workplace (e.g. on-the-job learning) and can lead sometimes to recognition into formal learning through RPL assessment processes.

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3. Governance and financing


TVET in Australia is operated by a number of bodies under the National Skills Framework. Key players in TVET are:

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)

COAG is an intergovernmental body that initiates, develops and monitors the implementation of policy reforms. It comprises of the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The Council is a platform for coordinated action by Australian governments.

Standing Council for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE)

The SCOTESE works to ensure that the needs of Australia’s workforce are met through increased participation, educational attainment and skill development. The Council was established in July 2011.

The Council has a range of principal committees which support the work of SCOTESE and who are chaired by senior TVET officials. They include:

  • Workforce Development Supply and Demand Principal Committee;
  • Tertiary Education Quality and Pathways Principal Committee;
  • Data Performance Measurement Principal Committee;
  • Access and Participation Principal Committee; and
  • Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).
DIISRTE is a government agency providing services and support programmes in education and workplace training; transition to work; as well as conditions and values in the workplace.

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

ASQA is a national regulator ensuring that courses and TVET providers meet nationally approved quality standards. The Authority was established in July 2011.

National Skills Standards Council (NSSC)

NSSC provides advice to SCOTESE on national standards for regulation of vocational education and training. It is a committee of SCOTESE established in June 2011.

Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency

AWPA (formerly Skills Australia) is independent statutory body providing advice to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research on skills and development needs of the Australian workforce. It was established in 2012 by a revision to the Skills Australia Act of 2008.

National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) provides policy advice and a secretariat structure to facilitate and support the key advisory councils of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Standing Council responsible for tertiary education, skills and employment.

State Training Authorities (STAs)

Australian state and territory governments through their training agencies allocate funds, register training organisations and accredit courses. STAs are accountable to their minister who is a member of the Ministerial Council of Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE).

Industry Skills Councils (ISCs)

ISCs are independent, industry-lead boards that bring together industry, educators and governments and jointly decide on a common industry-led agenda for action on skills and workforce development. They provide training advice to Skills Australia, State and

Territory Governments and enterprises; and support the development of Training Packages.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)

RTOs are teaching and training institutions registered and accredited to deliver training and/or conduct assessments and issue nationally recognised qualifications in accordance with the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).

Australian Apprenticeship Centres (AACs)

AACs provide training information to employers, apprentices and trainees on rules and legislation, as well as financial assistance that may be available. They provide support to employers, apprentices and trainees throughout the traineeship/apprenticeship.

Group Training Organisations (GTOs)

GTOs are companies that hire apprentices and trainees to undertake their training at other companies. They select candidates, rotate them between different businesses and take responsibility for related paperwork. The GTO system offers a solution for medium sized businesses (SMEs) that would otherwise not be able to hire apprentices due to a lack of guaranteed ongoing work and the capacity needed for hiring trainees.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is a professional and independent body responsible for collecting, managing, analysing, evaluating and communicating research and training statistics about technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Australia.


There are a range of other peak industry bodies that provide advice on TVET training issues such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and their state-based local chambers, the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group (AiG).


The TVET sector in Australia is funded jointly by the national and State and Territory governments. Industry and private investment in training is also significant. Some of the funding provided through government is now fully contestable and several Australian states are introducing ‘entitlement models’ where the training dollar is tied to the student and they (or their employer) can make choices on the type of training and provider they wish to use.

Funding initiatives

The Building Australia’s Future Workforce package has seen the establishment of the National Workforce Development Fund.

This fund is providing over $558 million over 4 years to support training and workforce development and is being administered by the National Workforce and Productivity Agency.

The main aims of the package include the following points:

  • Putting industry at the heart of the training system;
  • Skills to support increased participation;
  • Modernising apprenticeships; and
  • Reforming the national training system.

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4. TVET teachers and trainers

For teaching TVET in Australia, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE) is required as the minimum qualification. To teach TVET at secondary level, a Bachelor Degree with a specialisation in secondary education is commonly required.

There is a range of bachelor programmes offered in TVET teaching for those with a non-TVET degree or another TVET-unrelated qualification. These programmes are part-time and last typically for two years.

They focus on teaching methods, curriculum studies and education with a special emphasis on adolescents. Alternative paths into TVET teaching include a part-time, one-year programme for practicing teachers with a three-year Diploma in Teaching TVET, or a part-time distance programme for those with a Certificate in Training and Assessment.

TVET teachers are required to conduct training according to industry-endorsed standards and assess student performance in line with defined competency standards. They typically hold required qualifications, and have substantial work experience in a vocational profession. Many TVET practitioners are sourced directly from industry and/ or return to industry to renew their skills.

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

National Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) sets out a single framework applicable to all Australian qualifications. The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system.

Qualifications under the AQF are as follows:

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on data from AQF web-page) (previously the National Training Information Service) provides information on qualifications for each industry including training structure and content; entry requirements; and assessment guidelines. The AQF Register of Recognised Education Institutions and Authorised Accreditation Authorities in Australia is a register of all AQF qualifications and institutions accredited to award them.

Quality Assurance

Since 2011, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector. ASQA regulates courses and training providers to ensure nationally approved quality standards are met.

ASQA is in charge of the VET Quality Framework which aims at achieving greater national consistency in the way providers are registered and monitored and in how standards in the vocational education and training (VET) sector are enforced.

The VET Quality Framework comprises:

In addition to the VET Quality Framework, there are also Standards for VET Accredited Courses.

The Standards for VET Accredited Courses apply to courses accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) from the commencement of operations on 1 July 2011.

They also apply to all courses regulated by ASQA, including those courses that were accredited by state and territory course accrediting bodies prior to the referral of their VET-regulation powers the Commonwealth, and their transition to the national arrangements.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

A range of reforms are presently occurring in Australian TVET including a move toward an integrated tertiary education system where the university and TVET sectors are more closely connected in terms of quality assurance arrangements and pathways.

Another important reform that is being progressed is the quality of assessment practices in order to improve the confidence of employers and students in the quality of training courses, by developing and piloting independent validation of training provider assessments.

The introduction of market models of training (such as entitlement models of funding) which are emerging in several states of Australia have been a recent reform. To encourage greater choice, much of the government funding for training has become contestable and public providers now need to compete with other providers on price and quality. TVET has also seen the growth of national partnerships which are a mechanism to support the delivery of specified outputs or projects through national and state and territory funding agreements.

Australia is presently pursuing a transparency reporting agenda in government and this has extended to the three sectors of education as well. At its heart is providing greater transparency and accessibility of performance data for clients enabling them to compare education providers in terms of key performance measures.

Finally, there has been a particular focus recently in Australia on the quality of the TVET teaching workforce, and in particular the suitability of the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as the main qualification needed to teach TVET.

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+1.83 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
10.27 10.13
female male  
11.18 11.09
female male  

50.34 %

50.19 %

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

GDP per capita (currency: US$)



34 149

42 131

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank Database

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

  • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) - RTOs deliver TVET and award nationally recognised qualifications. Only RTOs offer TVET and issue AQF- accredited qualifications. They are audited for compliance with the AQTF by national and state TVET regulators. For a comprehensive database of accredited RTOs visit:
  • Government Providers (TAFE) - Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions provide predominantly vocational education courses and are funded by the various state and territory governments. They are usually referred to as ‘colleges’ or ‘institutes’ and provide courses across a range of fields of education including; business, construction, engineering, and tourism and hospitality. For a comprehensive database of accredited TAFEs visit:
  • Adult & Community Education (ACE) Providers - ACE providers are life-long learning institutions that provide community training through a wide range of services and accredited courses aimed at adult learners seeking to continue their secondary education and begin or change their career path. Some also provide a range of TVET courses.

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Further reading


ALGA - Australian Local Government Association

AQF - Australian Qualifications Framework

AQTF - Australian Quality Training Framework

COAG - Council of Australian Governments

College - Upper Secondary

DIISRTE - Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Tertiary Education

High School - Lower Secondary

ISCs - Industry Skills Councils

NATESE - National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

NCVER - National Centre for Vocational Education Research

NTIS - National Training Information Service

RTO - Registered Training Organisation

SCOTESE - Standing Committee on Training, Skills and Employment

VET - (Technical) and Vocational Education and Training

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2012-08-14
Validated by: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

page date 2014-12-19

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