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: 2015-10-15

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) Quality Framework, under the Australian Skills Quality Authority, aims to promote greater national consistency in the way Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are registered and monitored. The Framework also monitors how standards in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector are enforced. The VET Quality Framework includes:

  • Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) (2015) are a set of standards used to ensure nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment across Australia's TVET system. Compliance with the standards is a requirement for all Australian registered training organisations.
  • Fit and Proper Person Requirements are requirements designed to ensure that key RTO personnel have the characteristics and principles necessary to ensure the delivery of high-quality services and outcomes for TVET graduates. These requirements are set to protect and inspire confidence in the VET system, and to safeguard Australia’s reputation as a premier provider of VET (both locally and internationally). The Fit and Proper Person Requirements determine standards of behaviour by individuals who are in a position to influence an RTO's management. For the purpose of subsection 186(2) of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, the Fit and Proper Person Requirements are at schedule 3 of Attachment A within the Standards.
  • Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements ensure that organisations can demonstrate their financial viability to deliver high-quality training to VET students.
  • Data Provision Requirements ensure RTOs provide the national regulator with a range of accurate and complete data about their business and operations. Data Provision requirements also allow the regulator to identify trends and risks within the industry, and to further monitor and improve Australia's TVET system. Finally, the requirements ensure the national regulator has a record of all student records, qualifications and statements of attainment.
  • Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. It incorporates the quality assured qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework.
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 the 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 the 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 and Tasmanian Qualifications Authority Act 2003;
  • Victoria: Education and Training Reform Amendment (Skills) Act 2010; and
  • Western Australia: Vocational Education and Training Act 1996.

  • Australian Skill Quality Authority (2012). VET Quality Framework, Adelaide. Accessed: 14 August 2012.
  • Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (2012). National VET E-learning Strategy, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. Accessed: 22 March 2012.
  • iVet Information Shared (2015). Key VET Stakeholders, Legislative Framework, Governance. Accessed: 21 June 2015.

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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education, VII Ed. 2010/11. Australia. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Formal TVET system

Technical and vocational education and training normally is provided as a post-schooling option for adults. In some cases it is also offered at the secondary education level. Secondary school (or high school) lasts between five or six years depending on the state or territory and, 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. After graduating, students can continue at a vocational training institution.

Schools who wish to offer TVET in schools programmes 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 other States and Territories, such as Queensland, all schools are also RTOs.

The vast majority of VET students are adults 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.

TVET at the tertiary education level

At the tertiary education 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.


  • Department of Education, Science and Training (2007). Country Background Report prepared for the OECD activity on Recognition of Non-formal and Informal Learning. Paris: OECD.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education, VII Ed. 2010/11. Australia. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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    3. Governance and financing


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

  • Council of Australian Governments (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.
  • Department of Education and Training (DOET) 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) is a national regulator ensuring that courses and TVET providers meet nationally approved quality standards. The Authority was established in July 2011.
  • Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) oversees qualifications and training product development and was established in May, 2015 to give voice to industry in defining standards and training package development.
  • State Training Authorities (STAs) are institutions through which Australian state and territory governments 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 Reference Committees (IRCs) (from 2016) are bodies which will speak for substantial proportions of the industry ‘sub-sector’ they are representing. IRCs were to be supported by Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) who would compete for the role of training package development in an ‘open market’. SSOs would be expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the Australian VET system and the process of training product development.
  • Industry Skills Councils (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) 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) 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) 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.
  • Associations 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 new Industry Skills Fund (ISF) replaces the former National Workforce Development Fund and is providing over $664 million to fund up to 225,000 training positions over 5 years to support SMEs, including micro businesses, delivered through a Single Business Service.


  • iVet Information Shared (2015). Key VET Stakeholders, Legislative Framework, Governance. Accessed: 21 June 2015.

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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 typically last 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.


  • Wynes, S and Misko, J (2013) Assessment issues in VET: minimising the level of risk. Adelaide: NCVER.

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    5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Secondary vocational education

Programme Duration Qualification
Secondary School (Grade 10 to 13) optional TVET courses 3 years Senior Certificate of Education and a TVET qualification
Post-secondary vocational education

Programme Duration Qualification
Certificate programme 6 months - 1 year Vocational Graduate Certificate
Diploma programme 1-2 years Vocational Graduate Diploma
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 (1) qualifications for each industry including training structure and content; (2) entry requirements; (3) 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.


  • Australian Qualifications Framework (2012). Qualifications Guidelines, AQF, Adelaide. Accessed: 22 March 2012.
  • Australian Skill Quality Authority (2012). VET Quality Framework, Adelaide. Accessed: 14 August 2012.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

A range of reforms are currently under way. Many government agencies operating outside relevant federal departments were taken back into the federal department. The National Skills Standard Council (NSSC) was dissolved and a new council, the Industry and Skills Committee, formed. The work of the Australian Workplace Productivity Agency with responsibilities for the National Workforce Development Fund was taken back into the department, and the agency dissolved.

In late 2014 a review of the responsibilities of current Industry Skills Councils, especially in the development of Training Packages, began. In 2014 the Federal Government released two discussion papers for consultation with stakeholders. One introduced the government’s intention to open up the development of Training Packages to the market.

The rationale for changing existing approaches and introducing a contestable model was predicated on the value of further opening up opportunities for representatives of industry (for example, employers with grass roots knowledge of skills required) to have their say in the development of relevant qualifications. A summary of results from this consultation process has yet to become available.

At the same time the second discussion paper asked for feed-back on the adequacy of Training Packages and Accredited Courses. At the time of writing a final summary report of these face-to-face consultations was not yet publicly available. However, preliminary reports of separate jurisdictional face-to-face-consultation sessions related to this review are available on the VET Reform Taskforce website. These highlight a range of issues that have exercised the sector for a long time. They include questions about ‘who is industry?’ and issues relating to motivating industry to become more involved in education and training, especially small businesses. The difficulties of engaging effectively with industry to identify training needs are exacerbated by the competing (and sometimes frequently changing) needs of employers within the same sector.

The continued dominance of large business in VET advisory and regulatory forums means that the needs of small and medium-sized businesses are often over-looked. Perceived industry needs for job-ready graduates were balanced with recommendations for employers to increase their roles in the provision of on-the-job training, induction, and mentoring learners in ‘how to work’. At the same time it was acknowledged that the training system was not always capitalising on the wealth of experience that is available in the business sector. A summary report of the submission process for this review highlighted support for the current system of training packages, noting it was the implementation rather than the design that were key issues for quality and industry responsiveness.

In May 2015 the government announced the creation of a new body, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC,) to provide the industry voice in VET policy making. The Committee (comprising current CEOs of major enterprises and industry peak bodies) would replace ‘the complex framework of 13 different committees and advisory bodies’ , to help ensure it is efficient and effective in delivering the job-ready workers that industry needs’ (Birmingham, media release, May 8 2015).

The new arrangements (to be implemented by January 2016) also comprised the appointment by the AISC of Industry Reference Committees (IRCs). These bodies needed to be able to show that they could speak for substantial proportions of the industry ‘sub-sector’ they are representing. IRCs were to be supported Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) who would compete for this role in an ‘open market’. SSOs would be expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the Australian VET system and the process of training product development. Although SSOs may wish to focus on the development of training products for specific industry sectors, they were not required to do so.

The AISC would advise the government on VET quality standards (including Provider Standards, and Training Package Standards), endorse qualifications, provide industry direction for VET research, and provide input into the national Industry and Skills Council. It would also make assessments on the need for training product review, apportion work to Skills Support Organisations, review requirements for new support materials for training products, and appoint new IRCs or re-appoint IRCs.


  • Australian Government (2015). Vocational Education and Training Reform. Accessed: 26 June 2015.
  • Misko, J (2015). Regulating and quality assuring VET: some international developments. Adelaide: NCVER.
  • Service Skills Council (2014). Towards a Contestable Model. Accessed: 15 October 2015.

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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

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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
  • DIISRTE - Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Tertiary Education
  • ISCs - Industry Skills Councils
  • 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: 2015-10-15
    Validated by: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

page date 2014-12-19

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