How to Start an RTO
Vocational education and training is one of Australia’s leading industries. With huge demand for skilled workers across the country, there is plenty of incentive for businesses to enter the VET sector.
The main challenge in entering the industry are the strict requirements. In order to improve the quality of training, prepare students for employment and uphold education standards, all VET providers are subject to stringent standards. Meeting these standards can be a challenge, and navigating the approvals process is often time consuming.
If you are thinking about starting a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the good news is that help is available. Professional consulting support can help cut through the red tape and make it easier to prepare a successful application. In this article we’ll discuss how to start an RTO and how RTO consulting services can simplify the process.
How to Start an RTO
Most RTOs in Australia are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). ASQA’s role is to ensure Australia’s training organisations provide valuable learning experiences that prepare students for real-world employment.
To become a registered RTO, you need to submit an application that meets a number of strict standards. ASQA will assess the application and determine whether your organisation meets these requirements.
The best way to prepare your application is to work with an RTO consultant. Having expert support greatly improves the quality of your application and increases the chances that registration will be granted.
RTO Consultants specialise in setting up new RTOs. Consultants can significantly shorten the RTO set up journey, provide useful templates, insights into the approvals process, and help avoid common pitfalls and areas of scrutiny. This can dramatically reduce the costs associated with setting up an RTO and shorten a lengthy process.
A consultant can also provide support in challenging an ASQA decision that you’re unhappy with. This can save your organisation significant amounts of time and money.
The Process of Starting an RTO
Prepare Your Application
You should begin by carefully reviewing ASQA’s requirements for registering a new RTO.
During this time you will need to develop organisational systems and processes that will support the delivery of quality training and assessment. You also need to develop or purchase training and assessment materials.
Developing learning and assessment materials is complex, time-consuming and subject to strict quality requirements. Most new RTOs choose to purchase off-the-shelf materials to reduce expenses and development times.
Beyond internal documentation and quality materials, all applications to ASQA must include several key pieces of evidence about your organisation:
- A self-assessment of how you meet the Standards for RTOs 2015, along with supporting documentation
- A Financial Viability Risk Assessment (FVRA), including financial history and projections
- Fit and proper persons declarations for the key people in your organisation
- Documentation about your business names and legal status
ASQA provides a Guide to Applying for RTO Registration that goes into detail on the requirements your organisation needs to meet.
Lodge Your Application with ASQA
You can lodge your application once you have prepared the relevant documentation. Applications are submitted via ASQAnet. At time of writing, you’ll need to pay a $600 lodgement fee alongside your application.
ASQA Performs a Preliminary Check
ASQA conducts a preliminary “completeness check” to ensure you have provided all the information and documentation they need. You will be given 5 days to supply any documentation, information or evidence that’s missing from your application.
With all documentation in place, ASQA will issue an invoice for the initial registration Assessment Fee, which currently sits at $8,000. The fee needs to be paid before assessment can begin.
The Assessment Process Commences
The assessment process begins once you have lodged your application and paid the relevant fees. The assessment process consists of 3 key steps:
- You are assigned an assessor (auditor) who will contact you to request additional evidence and arrange an audit date. They will discuss the process with you and make appointments for meetings and interview days.
- During the audit, the assessor may ask further questions and/or request additional evidence to support your application. You are provided an opportunity to discuss the evidence and provide clarity on any issues the assessor may bring up.
- Your assessor will conduct a closing meeting to deliver their findings and discuss the next steps in your application.
ASQA Issues a Decision
ASQA will issue a decision once the assessment is complete.
If your application is successful, you will receive a registration certificate and a letter that details your organisation’s obligations and any special registration conditions. ASQA may approve:
- All training products in your application
- Some of the training products in your application
- Training products with special conditions
If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a report detailing areas where the application fell short and how you can address these issues.
You have 20 days to respond to an ASQA decision. If you’re unhappy with the outcome, you can challenge the decision and request a review. It’s your responsibility to submit evidence that supports a review. You may be able to escalate the review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
Streamline the Set Up of Your RTO with Consulting from RTO Works
Entering the VET industry is a tempting prospect for many businesses. The challenge is that the set up process can be lengthy, and ASQA’s stringent requirements are difficult to navigate alone. And, while ASQA aims to review new applications within 3 months, the actual journey often takes much longer.
If you want to get your RTO up and running sooner, working with an experienced RTO consultant is the best way to handle your application. RTO consultants have streamlined systems for setting up RTOs, developing documentation, preparing an application and avoiding common compliance pitfalls. When you add it all up, the consultants at RTO Works can save you significant amounts of time and money, and help ensure you meet regulatory requirements.
At RTO Works, we offer RTO consulting services for setting up and registering new RTOs, developing policies, expanding your scope, assessment validation and more. We can also assist with setting up a CRICOS college or getting an existing RTO CRICOS registered.
Contact us to find out how we can help and speak to our consultants about RTO registration today!