Australian Qualifications Framework
Linkage of NQF, lifelong learning with employment systems in
Australia, including recognition of prior learning
Greg Clarke
Tertiary, Skills and Productivity Group
Key features of the
Australian training system
Strong industry leadership and
Training qualifications developed by
Industry determines competencies
(‘standards’) for each qualification
National qualifications framework
Guiding Principles Underpinning the
Training System
The guiding principles that underpin the national training system are:
Industry and business needs, both now and for the future,
drive training policies, priorities and delivery.
Better quality training and outcomes for clients are assured
through more flexible and accelerated pathways.
Processes are simplified and streamlined and enhance
national consistency.
Young people have opportunities to gain a wide range of
lasting skills that provide a strong foundation for their working
Training opportunities are expanded in areas of current and
expected skill shortage.
AQF - National Qualifications
Lifelong Learning for Australia
• Is cradle to grave
• Embraces all forms of education
- primary, secondary, tertiary
- workplace and on-the-job
- private and recreational
• Focuses on the individuals life course
Key issues for Australia
Participation in education
Is increasing
for VET and Higher Education
for attainment to year 12 or
VET equivalent
Regional & rural areas
Fewer opportunities
Indigenous groups
Have fewer prospects and
more problems
What is RPL?
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) involves the
formal assessment of previously unrecognised
skills and knowledge that an individual has
achieved outside the formal education and training
RPL in Australia
Provides a national qualifications standard
for recognition of prior learning (RPL)
Key Issues ─ RPL in Australia
• Differences in understandings of terms
• Impact of the Federal system on consistency of practice/funding
• Differences in rationale for RPL
• Need improved data collection, analysis and evaluation
• No framework to determine optimal levels of RPL
• Conflicting views about impact of funding on level and
distribution of RPL in VET
• Shortage of RPL assessors
• Need for a culture shift to embed RPL into the system
Government responsibility for RPL
Ministerial Councils
States &
Regulation and
delivery of
education and
Funding of
education and
Vocational Education and Training
in Australia – Quality Assurance
Training Packages
 Nationally endorsed competency
standards, assessment guidelines and
Australian Quality Framework
 Developed by industry through national
Industry Skills Councils
Australian Apprenticeships
Australian Apprenticeships offer:
•A great way to get a head start in a chosen career.
•Paid work and structured training that can be on-the-job, off-the-job or
a combination of both.
•‘Competency based’ which means you can complete your training faster
if you reach the required skills level.
•Existing skills and prior experience are recognised and course credit
granted, potentially reducing formal training time.
Available as full-time or part-time, also available part-time in many
•Leads to nationally recognised qualifications and skills which provide the
basis for further education and training over the course of your working
•A pathway from school to work.
Australian Apprenticeships
All Australian Apprenticeships translate to the
Australian Qualifications Framework from
Certificate I to Advanced Diploma.
Training content of Australian Apprenticeships is
based on a system of training packages.
Industry Skills Councils
AgriFood Skills Australia
Community Services and Health
Construction and Property Services
Electro-Comms and Energy Utilities (Ee-oz)
Government and Community Safety (Government Skills Australia)
Innovation and Business (IBSA)
Manufacturing Industry Skills Council (Manufacturing Skills Australia)
Resources and Infrastructure Industry Skills Council (Skills DMC)
Service Skills Australia
Transport and Logistics
Industry Skills Council Governance
ISCs are independent, not-for-profit companies which
are managed by an independent board of directors.
The directors include representatives from employer
associations, industry associations and unions.
The Australian Government fund ISCs and sets broad
parameters that are required to meet specific roles in
the national training system.
The Board then sets the more detailed directions for
their ISC. This recognises that each industry is different
and has different needs.
Funding to ISCs
The Australian Government provides funding to ISCs to:
provide industry intelligence and advice to Skills Australia,
government and enterprises on workforce development and
skills needs;
actively support the development, implementation and
continuous improvement of high quality training and
workforce development products and services, including
training packages;
provide independent skills and training advice to enterprises,
including matching identified training needs with appropriate
training solutions; and
work with enterprises, employment service providers,
training providers and government to allocate training places.
Strengthened Role for Industry Skills Councils
The role of Industry Skills Councils has been expanded and
strengthened as part of the Skilling Australia for the Future
Industry intelligence and advice on workforce skills
Independent skills and training advice to enterprises.
Core role in developing Training Packages and support materials
Industry Skills Councils & Training
Nationally endorsed training packages are
developed by Industry Skills Councils or
enterprises to meet the identified training needs
of specific industries or industry sectors.
To gain national endorsement, developers must
provide evidence of extensive consultation and
support within the relevant industry area or
Australian Qualifications
Training Framework (AQTF)
• Ensures national consistency in recognition of
qualifications, and delivery of training.
• Required RPL to be treated like an other
assessment and is subject to audit and
• Assessment is to meet requirements of relevant
Training Package or accredited course.
Legislative basis of AQTF
• AQTF is underpinned by legislation enacted in
each State and Territory
• Enables individuals to have national recognition
and portability of national qualifications and
statement of attainment.
• Different approaches in each State for providing
State-wide policy frameworks for implementing RPL
Useful Websites
National Quality Council
Training Package Development Handbook
National Training Information Service
Training Package Development and Endorsement Processes 2008
Training Packages @ Work
Policy Recommendations
OECD Review Panel’s Policy Recommendations:
• Develop a set of agreed national definitions of terms
• More shared practice and collaborative research and
evaluation between jurisdictions
• A clearer and more widely understood rationale for RPL
• Provide data on the long term impact of RPL on the
individual or workplace including evaluations of RPL
• Develop appropriate national RPL targets
Policy Recommendations
Develop a framework for analysing the effects of changes in RPL
Professional development and a culture shift among professional
Embed RPL practice into the system by:
o having champions of RPL in industry
o providing modules on lifelong learning and RPL
o promoting business success stories within industries
o reinforcing public awareness
o develop outreach activities – vocational guidance and
systematic support
Current initiatives
• Council of Australian Governments (COAG) RPL
Agenda – In February 2006 agreed to improve the
practice and take-up of RPL and streamline RPL
• The Australian Qualifications Framework Council
(AQFC) – developing common terms and definitions
on credit transfer and articulation
• Skilling Solutions Queensland
Further contact details:
Greg Clarke
Branch Manager
Tertiary, Skills and Productivity group
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace
Canberra, Australia
+61 2 6240 8224 or +61 412 654 498
[email protected]

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