What is an RTO Consultant?

Australia’s VET industry is closely regulated by the federal and state governments. This regulation ensures that students receive high quality education, but it presents issues for providers.

Navigating changing laws, tight regulations and the needs of students can be a challenge, especially if you aren’t an industry expert. The good news is that help is available!

RTO consultants are experts that support organisations that want to apply to become RTOs. Their help is invaluable when setting up and managing your business, and they can provide help with any compliance matter.

In this article, we’ll explore how RTO consulting can support your business when dealing with ASQA.

What is an RTO Consultant?

An RTO consultant is a professional who provides guidance, advice and services related to Registered Training Organizations (RTOs).

RTOs are entities in Australia that deliver vocational education and training (VET) services. VET providers are private organisations that operate separately from the public schooling system. In the past, the independence of VET providers has resulted in students receiving low quality education.

To prevent this, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) governs the industry, setting minimum standards that RTOs and VET providers must abide by.

Meeting these minimum standards can be challenging. Many of the standards are vague or difficult to interpret, and the industry is always shifting. Staying on top of industry requirements and changes can be a challenge for business owners.

Rather than keeping up with changing legislation on your own, you can work with an RTO consultant when establishing and managing your business.

How Can RTO Consultants Help Your Business?

RTO consultants work with organisations from end to end. If you’re applying to become an RTO, altering your scope or looking for help with challenging a decision made by ASQA, a consultant can help with:

  • Compliance assistance – RTO consultants help organisations understand and comply with the standards and requirements set by ASQA. This includes ensuring your RTO meets training and assessment standards, managing records appropriately and maintaining quality assurance processes.
  • Audit preparation – Your consultant will assist you in preparing for audits conducted by ASQA. These audits review your learning materials, business strategy, finances and more, so professional support is invaluable.
  • Quality assurance – RTO consultants may help establish or refine your quality assurance processes. These processes ensure training and assessment practices meet industry standards and best practices, and help to make your RTO more transparent to ASQA and to students.
  • Training and development – Consultants offer training sessions or workshops for RTO staff on various topics. These include compliance, assessment design, validation and other relevant areas.
  • Policy development – New RTOs are required to submit a range of policies to ASQA. Your RTO consultant can help develop or review policies and procedures related to student enrollment, assessment, training delivery and other operational aspects. ASQA has strict requirements for each of these areas of policy, so working with a consultant is the best way to ensure compliance.
  • Business strategy – Some RTO consultants may also provide advice on business strategy, growth opportunities, marketing and other aspects or business. This is crucial, because ASQA expects RTOs to have their financial and business goals in line (which protects learners from dodgy RTOs).

Each RTO consultant offers something a little different. While you’ll pay for each of these services, it’s usually more cost-effective to apply to become an RTO through a consultant, rather than trying to go it alone.

Support During ASQA Audits

One of ASQA’s main concerns is maintaining the quality of training and assessment that’s being delivered to students by the VET industry.

It’s crucial to students and to the future of Australia’s workplaces that learners are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need. To ensure this, ASQA audits RTOs (as well as your learning materials) to check the quality of your programs.

ASQA may audit an organisation when:

  • A business applies to become an RTO
  • An existing RTO applies to add a new course to its scope
  • Complaints have been made about the RTO (e.g. by students or trainers)

ASQA also conducts random audits throughout the year. This is done to protect students and encourage RTOs to improve the quality of their programs.

Audits conducted by ASQA can be make or break for your business. If you fail an audit, ASQA can restrict which courses you are allowed to offer, or they can even prevent you from trading.

Working with a consultant is the best thing you can do to navigate an audit. Your consultant will work with your team to ensure all documentation is in order and compliant, verify the quality of learning materials, and deal with any issues raised by the auditor.

Challenging Decisions Made by ASQA

When applying to become an RTO or alter the scope of your organisation, ASQA will assess your business and provide a decision.

In about 50% of cases, ASQA will determine that your application is not up to scratch. This could be due to missing or incorrect information, or problems such as low quality learning materials. Having your application rejected or challenged can be a major expense for your business.

The final benefit of working with an RTO consultant is that they will provide support when challenging decisions made by ASQA. This may involve negotiating with the regulator, updating your documentation and policies, or representing you during hearings.

RTO consultants are experts in navigating this type of challenge, so they can dramatically improve the chances of ASQA ruling in your favour.