Consultation on unduly short courses and training product reform


A number of reforms to the vocational education and training (VET) sector are currently being undertaken by the Australian Government. These reforms focus on ensuring students and employers receive high quality training that is responsive to the needs of industry and translates into employment opportunities for individuals.

In this context, the Australian Government is consulting on two aspects of the system:

  • unduly short courses, and
  • training products

The consultations for unduly short courses and for training product reform are being conducted simultaneously to ensure complementarity.

Unduly short courses

In June 2017, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) released its strategic review on unduly short courses. The review made three recommendations, that:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 be amended to include a definition of the ‘amount of training’ that focuses on supervised learning and assessment activities
  • training package developers be able to respond to industry-specific risks by setting mandatory requirements, including an amount of training
  • RTOs be required to publish Product Disclosure Statements that include the range of learning activities expected, including the amount of training, for each training product on their scope of registration.

In December 2017, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP announced public consultations with VET stakeholders on the implementation of ASQA’s recommendations. A discussion paper was also released to support the consultations and public submissions to the process.

The discussion paper outlines the reforms currently being undertaken by the Australian Government.

Training product reform

Technological changes, changing growth industries and how workers engage with labour market are among a range of economic forces changing the future of work and the skills required by the Australian workforce. It is imperative that training products remain adaptable to a range of factors that will affect workforce trends and to provide learners with the skills and capacity to enable them to achieve a broader range of employment opportunities or further study.

Skills ministers agreed in November 2016 that work be undertaken to examine and develop a case for change to enhance training products, in partnership with industry and in consultation with the VET sector. This is to ensure that training products continue to be relevant in the future, and support skills development as technology and industry changes.

A Joint Working Party, comprising state and territory and industry representatives was established to undertake this work. The Joint Working Party reported back to skills ministers in November 2017 on the case for change and recommended next steps. Skills ministers agreed to continue to explore enhancements to training products through consultation on a discussion paper and case for change.


In December 2017, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training commenced consultation on unduly short courses and training product reform.

VET stakeholders were encouraged to consider and respond to discussion papers on unduly short courses and training product reform. The consultation process closed on 9 March 2018. Due to reporting timeframes, the department cannot guarantee that late submissions will be incorporated into reports back to Skills Ministers. 

The department will publish written submissions where agreed by respondents. Outcomes on the two projects will be communicated via COAG Industry and Skills Council communiqué.

VET reform workshops

To support consultations, the department hosted 9 face-to-face consultation workshops in February and March 2018.

Workshop presentations;


Further queries may be directed to the department via