National VET Data Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

 

 

Table of contents

If you do not find the answer to your question here, further questions may be directed through the Skilling Australia information line on 13 38 73 or via email at VET-DataPolicy@dese.gov.au.

Data Provision Requirements

What are the Data Provision Requirements?

The Data Provision Requirements are a legislative instrument made under section 187 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

They set out the data that registered training organisations (RTOs) must provide.

The Data Provision Requirements are a component of the VET Quality Framework and therefore compliance is a condition of an RTO’s registration.

When and why are the Data Provision Requirements changing?

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Data Provision Requirements) Instrument 2020 was made on 20 November 2020. It repeals and replaces the Data Provision Requirements 2012. The new Data Provision Requirements commence on 1 March 2021.

The changes support recommendations made by Professor Valerie Braithwaite in 2019 in the ‘All eyes on quality: Review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 report’ and include changes flowing on from amendments made in February and August 2020 to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

The new Data Provision Requirements further define what information must be provided to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and are aimed at improving the clarity and technical accuracy of information to reduce duplication and assist registered training organisations (RTOs) in meeting their existing obligations.

They also ensure ASQA can meet its responsibility to keep information published about RTOs on the National Register, at www.training.gov.au/Home/Tga, up to date.

Where can I find information about the changes and what they mean for registered training organisations (RTOs)?

You can view the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Data Provision Requirements) Instrument 2020 on the Federal Register of Legislation.

RTOs can find out about legislative changes and complying with ASQA’s requirements on the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) website at www.asqa.gov.au.

The National VET Data Policy

What does the National VET Data Policy cover?

The National VET Data Policy sets the framework for other data reforms that will be progressed through the Performance Information for VET initiative. The Policy has four parts:

  • Part A Introduction – outlines why VET Data is collected
  • Part B National VET Provider Collection Data Requirements Policy – outlines obligations on all RTOs to collect and submit comprehensive data on their delivery of Nationally Recognised Training
  • Part C VET Data Access and Disclosure – outlines arrangements for disclosing and using the VET Data held by the NCVER
  • Part D Administration – deals with administration and definitional content including the Glossary of Terms.

When does the National VET Data Policy take effect?

Version 1 of the National VET Data Policy commenced 1 January 2018 with a six-month transition period until 1 July 2018.

Version 2 of the National VET Data Policy commenced 1 January 2019, with registered training organisations having until 1 July 2019 to transition to the new Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the Policy.

Version 3 of the National VET Data Policy commences on 1 January 2021. The updated Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 also commences from 1 January 2021.

Where can I find a copy of the National VET Data Policy?

The National VET Data Policy can be found on the department's National VET Data Policy page.

When was the National VET Data Policy agreed?

The National VET Data Policy was agreed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers responsible for Skills and Training on 24 November 2017.

What is VET Activity Data?

VET Activity Data includes RTO, student and training activity data collected and held in the:

  • National VET Provider Collection
  • National VET in Schools Collection
  • National Apprentice and Trainee Collection and
  • aggregate competency commencement and completion data.

Confidentialised data about VET students and RTO activity may be published.

Files containing identifiable student data must be used in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988, including the Australian Privacy Principles.

Files containing identifiable RTO activity data may be published as outlined in section 11 of the National VET Data Policy, which specifies that identified RTO unit record data may be published in order to support consumer information and transparency of the national VET market, as well as support research, analysis and policy development.

What is VET Outcome Data?

VET outcome data means data collected and held by NCVER from the following:

  • Student Outcomes Surveys
  • Surveys of Employer Use and Views (of the VET System)
  • Apprentice and Trainee Destinations Surveys and
  • Identified RTO level completions data.

What information about my RTO will be published?

A range of consumer information may be published by governments (and their agents) on websites like myskills.gov.au (which enables students and employers to search for, and compare, VET programs and RTOs). Publication of identified RTO activity information is authorised by section 11 of the National VET Data Policy.

Publication of identified RTO level data supports transparency of the national VET system and consumer information for businesses and potential students. Transparency improves training system integrity by providing public visibility of the activity and outcomes of RTOs.

Are files containing Unique Student Identifiers personal information?

Files containing USIs and characteristics associated with each USI are identifiable data containing personal information and are subject to the Privacy Act 1988, including the Australian Privacy Principles. The Student Identifiers Act 2014 also requires that entities required to keep a record of a USI must take reasonable steps to protect the record from misuse, interference, loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

Why do RTOs have to sign or electronically acknowledge a VET Data Use Statement and RTO Declaration and Understanding?

Entities receiving VET Data from RTOs in accordance with the National VET Data Policy must ensure that RTOs are aware of the purposes for which the information they submit may be used, and retain evidence that each RTO has signed or electronically acknowledged the mandatory information contained in the VET Data Use Statement and RTO Declaration and Understanding.

It is the responsibility of the entity collecting information from RTOs to implement the VET Data Use Statement. For example, NCVER has implemented the VET Data Use Statement and RTO Declaration and Understanding by modifying the AVETMISS validation submission screen to capture the necessary information of name and position, and acknowledgement.

What changes have been made to the National VET Data Policy?

The changes to the National VET Data Policy (the Policy), agreed by the Skills Senior Officials’ Network on 2 December 2020, are administrative in nature.

The Policy was updated to:

  • include changes flowing on from the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Act 2020 enacted in February 2020 relating to the publication of de-identified information
  • reflect amendments to information sharing provisions in the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2020, enacted in September 2020
  • ensure the accuracy of references and links.

Version 3 of the Policy commences on 1 January 2021.

What are the main changes to the Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy and when do they come into effect?

The Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy has been updated to:

  • add content reflecting amendments to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 that were enacted in 2020
  • make the Privacy Notice easier for students to understand
  • better support registered training organisations (RTOs) to meet their privacy obligations.

RTOs must use the updated Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy from 1 January 2021.

Privacy

Why were changes made to the Privacy Notice?

The Privacy Notice had to be updated to reflect amendments to information sharing provisions in the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, that came into effect on 4 September 2020.

At the same time the language in the Privacy Notice was refreshed to make it easier for students to understand how their personal information is collected, used or disclosed, and to support registered training organisations (RTOs) to meet their privacy obligations by providing guidance about RTO specific information they should include.

What do changes to the Privacy Notice mean for students?

The updated Privacy Notice gives students a clearer explanation of how their data will be collected, used and disclosed by their registered training organisation, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, State and Territory authorities that deal with matters relating to VET, and VET regulators as applicable.

What do the changes to the Privacy Notice mean for registered training organisations?

Registered training organisations (RTOs) must use the updated Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (updated Privacy Notice) from 1 January 2021 as it is a minimum mandatory notification requirement under section 7 of the National VET Data Policy (the Policy).

The updated Privacy Notice includes guidance where RTOs should insert RTO specific privacy information that is essential for their students.

RTOs are alerted on the updated Privacy Notice that the Notice is in addition to the RTO’s standard privacy notice.

RTOs will also need to review the National VET Data Policy as it has changed. The changes to the Policy are minor and mainly reflect amendments to legislation enacted during 2020.

Can a registered training organisation use the previous Privacy Notice, and for how long?

The previous version of the Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (previous Privacy Notice) ceases to have effect from 31 December 2020.

From 1 January 2021, registered training organisations (RTOs) must use the updated Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy.

Where RTOs have already prepared enrolment forms that include the previous Privacy Notice, those forms can continue to be used until 31 December 2020.

If a student has already enrolled and is continuing study in 2021, will the registered training organisation need to give the student the updated Privacy Notice?

It is good practice to allow the student to see the updated Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (updated Privacy Notice) so their expectations about the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information are met. One way an RTO can do this is by adding the updated Privacy Notice to its website.

When does the Privacy Notice have to be given to students?

The National VET Data Policy states that:

'7.1 It is the responsibility of RTOs to ensure that students who provide an RTO with personal information that will be included in the National VET Provider Collection are reasonably aware that the information may be used or disclosed for the purposes set out in the Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the Policy

7.2 Where personal information is collected from a student, RTOs must make students aware of the purposes for which their information may be collected, used or disclosed. RTOs must give the student a copy of the Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of this Policy. This can be achieved by including the 'Privacy Notice' during the student's enrolment process. The minimum mandatory content for inclusion in a Privacy Notice is at Schedule 1 of this Policy.'

It is recommended that the Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy is part of the student's initial enrolment with a registered training organisation.

If the registered training organisation's standard privacy notice is different to the updated Privacy Notice, which privacy notice must the RTO use? 

RTOs need to ensure that they are complying with all of their legal obligations, including their obligations under privacy law.

The updated Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy provides that:

'This Privacy Notice is to be given to students in addition to your standard Privacy Notice.'

The updated Privacy Notice also indicates in the Notice a place for the RTO to include a link to the RTO’s standard privacy notice or policy.

Exemptions

Why have most reporting exemptions been removed or reduced?

Changes to reporting exemptions are based on stakeholder feedback received during the review. The changes seek to balance the value of the data against the administrative effort required to collect it.

Reducing reporting exemptions provides the following benefits:

  • all students should be able to have all their training achievements recorded on their authenticated VET transcript via their USI, irrespective of the length of the course.
  • closes information gaps on short courses as well as longer courses, improves the transparency of training delivery, which supports confidence in the VET sector and makes more information available to training consumers, industry, RTOs, regulators and governments and
  • comprehensive information on students in order to understand how different types of vocational training are used by different segments of the population, and this supports demographic analysis for workforce planning, policy development and consideration of potential market interventions.

Are there exemptions for national security, border protection and policing?

This exemption can still be claimed for RTOs delivering training where the collection and reporting of student information could jeopardise personal or national security but has been clarified in scope. If these RTOs are also delivering Nationally Recognised Training where security is not threatened, data compliant with AVETMISS must be collected and submitted for this training activity. Details are contained in section 5 of the National VET Data Policy.

This supports transparency and more effective regulation, and enables more students to have their skills and competencies recorded on their authenticated VET transcript, via their USI.

Are there exemptions for emergency and safety community services?

This exemption can still be claimed for Nationally Recognised Training delivered without fees by RTOs registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission. However, if any students provide their USI, RTOs are obliged to report data compliant with AVETMISS for training activity associated with those students. Details are contained in section 5 of the National VET Data Policy.

Continuing this exemption for charitable community service organisations balances the cost of compliance against the value of the data for transparency and analysis. Reporting data for students that provide their USI supports an objective of the USI scheme to enable students to obtain a comprehensive record of their training.

This not only supports more students having all their skills/competencies recorded on their authenticated VET transcript, but in due course, will enable electronic validation of training achievements by licensing authorities, regulators, employers or anyone else that USI holders provide access to.

What are the reporting arrangements for Enterprise RTOs?

Enterprise RTOs are now required to report full AVETMISS data on all their students. This closes a data gap and will assist in standardising reporting arrangements, as well as providing a more complete picture of how the national VET market operates.

Comprehensive information is particularly important for understanding how different types of vocational training are used by different segments of the population, and the various ways that the skills needs of industry are being met. This supports demographic analysis for workforce planning, policy development, and consideration of potential market interventions.

Through the consultations, a number of ETROs indicated that it was not cost effective maintaining the commencement date distinction in their systems, and so welcomed the idea of a single reporting arrangement for all employees.

What do RTOs need to report for short stand-alone courses?

RTOs are now required to report full AVETMISS data on all their students. This includes the nine demographic fields for students on short courses. In 2016, only 105 RTOs did not report 5 or more demographic fields for 90 percent or more of their student cohort on single day courses.

This change closes a data gap and will assist in standardising reporting arrangements, as well as providing a more complete picture of how the national VET market operates. Comprehensive information is particularly important for understanding how different types of vocational training are used by different segments of the population, and the various ways that the skills needs of industry are being met. This supports demographic analysis for workforce planning, policy development, and consideration of potential market interventions.

Do RTOs need to report USIs for training delivered in a single day?

The temporary exemption allowing RTOs to issue a VET qualification or statement of attainment to a student who has not provided their USI lapsed on 31 December 2017. The six-month transition period does not apply to this exemption.

Collecting and submitting USIs for all Nationally Recognised Training provides consistency across all types of training and all RTOs. In due course it will also enable electronic validation of training achievements by licensing authorities, regulators, employers or anyone else USI holders provide access to.

Inclusion of USIs for all students in all VET Data submissions also helps build a longitudinal data-set on VET activity. This will improve understanding of training pathways, how different types of training are used by individuals and businesses, and the various ways that the skill needs of industry are being met.

I think my RTO is eligible for an exemption. What am I required to do?

RTOs must consult with their VET Regulator for an exemption from submitting data compliant with AVETMISS for the National VET Provider Collection. RTOs will need to provide evidence to support their claim for an exemption, against the programs in their scope of registration. Details are contained in section 5 of the National VET Data Policy.

If my student is a continuing student and I do not have a USI for them, what do I do?

All data submissions by an RTO must be made in respect of all students who have undertaken Nationally Recognised Training, regardless of the current status of the student. To be compliant with AVETMISS, data for the National VET Provider Collection must be accurate and complete. This means that you will have to obtain a USI number from all students and include them in all data submissions.