Where do ‘quality’ in VET, ASQA and foundation skills align?

Quality in VET – a common viewpoint

Each of us has a concept of quality in VET practice, shaped by our roles, connections, experiences, professional development, and the adult learners we engage with. Our perspectives are likely to be mixed, but is it possible that we share a common understanding or expectation?

NCVER asked representatives from 5 key stakeholder groups: learners, providers, employers and industry, government and regulators. Each person was asked a range of questions including what constitutes and promotes quality in VET? 

Responses to this question, as well as questions about barriers and enablers, a summary and outcome considerations are revealed in the NCVER  Griffin, T. 2017 paper: Are we all speaking the same language. Understanding quality in the VET sector.

A key summary message is:

“The common ground for all, including for governments and funders, is that learners are provided with the skills they are training for”.

https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/are-we-all-speaking-the-same-language-understanding-quality-in-the-vet-sector (Summary)

Developing vocational competency is about developing the skills to perform the job.  Foundation skills are relevant to everyone in VET – they underpin the ability to perform all jobs and successfully undertake training.

Think about: “…how do you make sure that you are informed, in touch, and connected to the changing nature of an industry, and its practices, and then the interaction between the practices of that industry, and the skill component?”

The VET Era: Equipping Australia’s workforce for the future digital economy, 2016, p.37
Accessed from: http://tafeqld.edu.au/resources/pdf/about-us/research-papers/vet-era.pdf

ASQA student-centred audit approach

The purpose of the new student-centred audit approach is to follow the student experience and give students a greater voice.

Visit the links below for more information:

If you haven’t seen the ASQA summary video (introduced in 2017) – here it is.

“Your audit will be structured around your practices and behaviours in relation to five key phases of the student experience”

  1. Marketing and recruitment
  2. Enrolment
  3. Support and progression
  4. Training and assessment
  5. Completion

https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/publications/fact-sheets/asqas-student-centred-audit-approach (Fact sheet)

ASQA’s phases of student experience and foundation skills

In the rest of this post, we list each of the five key phases of the student experience as described in ASQA’s new student-centred audit approach.  For each phase, we offer questions to consider in terms of foundation skill development.  Use these questions to reflect on your RTO’s training and assessment practice, and to ensure you provide quality VET programs that build both the vocational and foundation skills your students will need to perform in today’s workforce.

1 Marketing and recruitment

Think about:

  • Does the material make skill pre-requisites clear – e.g. minimum entry requirements,  specific foundation skills needed?
  • Is it clear that a pre-training skills assessment is undertaken prior to enrolment (or close to) to identify current foundation skill competency and support needs?

2 When a student enrols

Think about:

  • does the course meet the students’ needs – Some students are unaware of the foundation skills  ‘jump’ from one AQF level to the next.
  • can the student access technology resources independently?

3 How student learning is supported

Think about:

  • Have you checked for special learning needs?
  • What foundation skills support needs exist?
  • What strategies and processes exist to offer ‘on demand’ or ‘in-time’ assistance
  • Who, or where do the students ‘go to’ if they have a problem or difficulty?
  • Who will monitor early signs of challenge – e.g. late or missing tasks, or non-attendance?
  • How are students supported to use technology and access the learning resources?

4 How training and assessment is conducted

Think about, training.  Are students:

  • introduced to new foundation skills?
  • given time to practice?
  • offered a range of resources?
  • offered feedback that targets foundation skill performance?


Are you challenging participants to perform the required range and complexity of foundation skills needed to ‘do the job’ you are training?

Think about assessment practices.  Are:

  • foundation skills at the forefront when assessment tasks and tools are prepared?
  • students and assessors clear about the foundation skills that must be demonstrated?
  • foundation skills stated in the assessment criteria?
  • foundation skills confirmed in the student feedback?

“… the desired outcomes for all stakeholder groups is the assumption that learners, through their training, will gain the required skills. High-quality assessment is crucial to generating confidence in this process.”

https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/are-we-all-speaking-the-same-language-understanding-quality-in-the-vet-sector (p44)

5 How they gain the qualification

Think about:

  • have all the requirements for successful course completion been made clear
  • have you monitored, and kept the students informed about their progress?  Are the students on track?


In this post, we have highlighted the intersection between ‘quality’ in VET, ASQA’s student-centred audit model, and foundation skills.  In doing so, we hope to have convinced you that a strong focus on foundation skills throughout all stages of the student experience will produce strong outcomes and increase the likelihood of a compliant ASQA audit result.

We hope this post will prompt discussion with colleagues and trigger a shift from ‘thinking about’ to ‘following through’ with a greater focus on foundation skills within your RTO.

2 thoughts on “Where do ‘quality’ in VET, ASQA and foundation skills align?

  1. basdenleco March 27, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    Great article that really makes one think how best to utilise “The Trinity” of “where-do-quality-in-vet-asqa-and-foundation-skills-align”. Definitely an article to refelct upon and put into practice. Excellent

    Liked by 1 person

    • llnandvetmeetingplace March 28, 2018 / 11:43 am

      Thank you Derek. The synergy between the three mustn’t be overlooked – and deserves consideration and discussion

      Liked by 1 person

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