National VET Data Frequently Asked Questions

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@education.gov.au.

On this page

Why was a review undertaken of the VET Provider Collection Data Requirements Policy?

Following the introduction of the collection of Total VET Activity data in 2014, and the Unique Student Identifier scheme in 2015, it was timely to review whether the VET Provider Collection Data Requirements Policy was working as intended and if any changes should be made. Supporting students to make better decisions and simplifying regulation for RTOs were also important considerations.

The National VET Data Policy agreed at the COAG Industry and Skills Council meeting on 24 November 2017 demonstrates the commitment of Skills Ministers to the continuation of significant reform of the VET system. The Policy sets the framework for other data reforms that will be progressed through the Performance Information for VET initiative, which will transform the data available to consumers, governments and regulators over the next three years.

What consultations were undertaken as part of the review?

The National VET Data Policy is the result of a sector-wide public consultation process. Consultations commenced in 2016 and included training providers, industry and those engaged in training and skills development across Australia. Public submissions were received, stakeholder interviews undertaken and surveys conducted of data providers and data users. The report on the consultations is available on the department's website, and copies of submissions can be found on the review page.

Further targeted consultations on specific issues were undertaken in 2017. All consultations have informed the National VET Data Policy, which closes information gaps by reducing some reporting exemptions, and consolidates VET data collection and use of VET information into a single reference document. The Policy sets the framework for other data reforms that will be progressed through the Performance Information for VET initiative, which will transform the data available to consumers, governments and regulators.

What feedback was received during the consultation process of the review?

Feedback indicated the National VET Provider Collection Data Requirements Policy was generally achieving its objectives, and that data being collected is useful in informing VET policy, planning and funding.

However, it also indicated that updates to policy could help to further improve the transparency of Australia's VET market, and to assist users better understand their responsibilities for collecting, reporting, using and accessing VET data. In particular:

  • data collection and data use information be consolidated into a single reference document for RTOs and stakeholders
  • gaps in the national data-set be reduced by limiting RTO reporting exemptions and
  • guidance be updated on disclosing and using identifiable VET data.

What changes have been included in the National VET Data Policy?

Key changes include:

  • consolidation of information on the requirements for national VET data collections in one document, and consequentially changing the name of the policy to the National VET Data Policy
  • a reduction of some reporting exemptions for community service organisations and RTOs delivering short courses, but exemptions on the basis of national security are largely retained
  • specification of mandatory content for inclusion in a 'Privacy Notice and Student Declaration' for students, and a 'VET Data Use Statement and RTO Declaration and Understanding' for RTOs
  • details on the publication of identifiable RTO level information
  • arrangements for disclosure of identifiable data about VET students, including identifiable data containing USIs and
  • more details on the operation of the VET Data Access Committee.

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 commences 1 January 2019, however registered training organisations have until 1 July 2019 to transition to the new Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the Policy.

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

The National VET Data Policy can be found on the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training's National VET Data website.

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.

Consideration of RTO outcome data for publication will occur in 2018. This will provide clarity on what information is published by governments (and their agents).

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 will implement 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 that they have read the data use statement and RTO declaration and understanding.

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

The Privacy Notice and Student Declaration at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy has been amended to:

RTO's must use the amended Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (amended Privacy Notice) from 1 July 2019 and may commence using the amended Privacy Notice from 1 January 2019.

Why were changes made to the Privacy Notice?

The Privacy Notice and Student Declaration at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy was amended to make it easier for students to understand how their personal information is collected, used and disclosed.

Students are now directed to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research's privacy webpage for more information rather than having to search for this additional privacy information themselves.

What do changes to the Privacy Notice mean for students?

Students are no longer required to complete a student declaration and consent.

Students are now directed to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research's privacy webpage for more information rather than searching for this additional privacy information.

Have any changes been made to the National VET Data Policy?

Yes, changes have been made to the National VET Data Policy (the Policy) that are consistent with the amendments to the Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of this Policy (amended Privacy Notice). The amendments to the Policy are minor in nature and have been made to ensure that version 2 of the Policy and the amended Privacy Notice are consistent.

Version 2 of the Policy commences on 1 January 2019 however registered training organisations have until 1 July 2019 to transition to the amended Privacy Notice.

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

Registered training organisations (RTOs) must use the amended Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (amended Privacy Notice) from 1 July 2019 as it is a minimum mandatory notification requirement under section 7 of the National VET Data Policy (the Policy) (and may commence using the amended Privacy Notice from 1 January 2019).

Under the amended Privacy Notice, RTOs are not required to collect a student declaration and consent.

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

RTOs will also need to review the Policy as changes have been made to the Policy that are consistent with the changes to the Privacy Notice. The changes to the Policy are minor in nature and have been made to ensure the Policy and the Privacy Notice are consistent.

Can a registered training organisation use the original Privacy Notice and Student Declaration, and for how long? For example, if a registered training organisation has already printed/prepared (electronic) 2019 enrolment forms with the original Privacy Notice and Student Declaration, can they still be used for 2019 enrolments?

The original version of the Privacy Notice and Student Declaration at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (original Privacy Notice) ceases to have effect from 1 July 2019. After that time, registered training organisations (RTOs) must use the amended Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy. RTO's may use (and are encouraged to use) the amended Privacy Notice from 1 January 2019.

RTO's have until 30 June 2019 to update their enrolment processes to include the amended Privacy Notice. Where RTOs have already prepared enrolment forms that include the original Privacy Notice, those forms can continue to be used until 30 June 2019.

If a registered training organisation is using the original Privacy Notice and Student Declaration, do students still need to sign the student declaration and consent?

Students can sign the student declaration and consent at the time they complete their enrolment form however the registered training organisation is not required to collect this consent. If a student has not signed the student declaration and consent, a registered training organisation is not required to follow up with the student in relation to obtaining their signature for the student declaration and consent.

If a student enrolled in 2018 is continuing study in 2019, will the registered training organisation need to give the student the amended Privacy Notice?

It is good practice to allow the student to sight the amended Privacy Notice at Schedule 1 of the National VET Data Policy (amended 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 amended Privacy Notice to its website.

Where a registered training organisation (RTO) has collected evidence from a student to comply with section 7.2 of version 1 of the National VET Data Policy, does the RTO need to retain this evidence after version 2 of the National VET Data Policy commences?

Yes.

When does the Privacy Notice have to be given to students, on new enrolment or new-year of enrolment?

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 following purposes:

  • populating authenticated VET transcripts;
  • facilitating statistics and research relating to education, including surveys and data linkage;
  • pre-populating RTO student enrolment forms;
  • Understanding how the VET market operates, for policy, workforce planning and consumer information; and
  • administering VET, including program administration, regulation, monitoring and evaluation.

7.2     Where personal information is collected from a student, RTO's must make students aware of the purposes for which their information may be collected, used or disclosed. RTO's 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.'

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 amended 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 amended 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 the RTO's standard Privacy Notice.'

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 changes to the national security, border protection and policing exemption?

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 changes to the emergency and safety community services exemption?

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.

Are there changes to the reduced 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.

Are there changes to the reduced reporting arrangements 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.

Are there changes to the reporting of 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.