Australian Apprenticeships Centres. ‘One-stop shops’ that provided information, recruitment and administration services and support to employers and Australian Apprentices. From 1 July 2015, AACs were replaced by the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN).


Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program. Formerly called the New Apprenticeships Incentives Programme (NAIP), its aim is to develop a more skilled Australian workforce by offering financial incentives to eligible employers who take on an Australian Apprentice.


The formal recognition of a vocational education and training (VET) course by the state or territory course accrediting body or the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) in accordance with the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Standards for State and Territory Registering and Course Accrediting Bodies or the Standards for VET Regulators 2011 and the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012.

Accredited Course

A nationally accredited course developed to meet training needs that are not addressed by existing training packages. Details of nationally accredited courses and the training providers that deliver these courses are provided by (TGA).

Accredited Training

An accredited program of study that leads to vocational qualifications and credentials that are recognised across Australia. Only registered training organisations that meet government quality standards such as TAFE, private providers, enterprise registered training organisations and vocational divisions of universities can provide nationally recognised training. It includes accredited courses, endorsed training package qualifications and associated subjects.


Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey. A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to: assess the skills of adult Australians in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving; collect general participant information, including familiarity with information and communications technology; and determine the relationships of each of the assessed skills to participants’ social and economic status. ALLS was conducted in Australia in 2006 as part of an international literacy study, coordinated by Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Its predecessor, the Survey of Aspects of Literacy (SAL) was conducted in 1996 as part of the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS).


A person contracted to an employer to undergo training for a recognised apprenticeable occupation during an established period. Upon completion of an apprenticeship, an apprentice becomes a qualified tradesperson.


A system of training regulated by law or custom which combines on-the-job training and work experience while in paid employment with formal (usually off-the-job training). The apprentice enters into a contract of training or training agreement with an employer, which imposes mutual obligations on both parties. Traditionally, apprenticeships were in trade occupations (declared vocations) and were of four years’ duration, but the duration of contracts has been formally reduced in some trades and the apprenticeship system broadened.


Australian Qualifications Framework The national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. The AQF, which replaced the Register of Australian Tertiary Education (RATE), was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia, encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools. The qualification types are: Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, Certificate I, Certificate II, Certificate III, Certificate IV etc.


Australian Skills Quality Authority The national regulator for the vocational education and training (VET) sector which became operational in July 2011. Registered training organisations (RTOs) in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania come under ASQA’s jurisdiction. ASQA is also the regulatory body for some RTOs in Victoria and Western Australia that offer courses to overseas students or to students in states that come under ASQA’s jurisdiction.


The process of gathering and judging evidence in order to decide whether a person has achieved a standard or objective.

Assessment of Learning

Also called Summative assessment. Assessment that occurs at a point in time and is carried out to summarise achievement at that point in time. Often more structured than formative assessment, it provides teachers, students and parents with information on student progress and level of achievement.

Assessment for Learning

Also called Formative assessment. Assessment that takes place at regular intervals during a course, with feedback provided along the way to help improve the student’s performance.

Assessment Materials

Resources developed as support materials to training packages that help: employers, learners, trainers, assessors and registered training organisations (RTOs) understand and collaborate in the assessment process; RTOs establish and maintain quality assurance mechanisms; learners prepare for assessment; trainers prepare learners for assessment; assessors conduct assessment; and learners and assessors recognise competencies currently held.

Assessment Requirements

An endorsed component of a training package associated with each unit of competency which underpins assessment and which sets out the industry approach to valid, reliable, flexible and fair assessment. It includes an overview of the assessment system and information on assessor requirements, designing assessment resources and conducting assessment.

Australian School-based Apprenticeships

An Australian Apprenticeship undertaken part-time while the apprentice is still at school. It comprises a mix of academic, vocational and technical education and training and paid employment, enabling Years 11 and 12 students to get a senior secondary certificate and credits towards a vocational qualification.

Career Education

Educational program conducted in secondary schools to give students informed guidance, counselling and instruction to enable them to make a suitable career choice and to help them prepare for it.


The consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments.

Competency-based assessment

(CBA) The gathering and judging of evidence in order to decide whether a person has achieved a standard of competence.

Competency-based training
(CBT). A method of training which develops the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to achieve competency.
Competency standard

An industry-determined specification of performance, which set out the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to operate effectively in employment. In vocational education and training (VET), competency standards were made up of units of competency, which were themselves made up of elements of competency, together with performance criteria, a range of variables, and an evidence guide.

Compliance audit

An external assessment administered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to determine whether a registered training organisation is operating effectively within its scope of registration. May also be referred to as compliance assessment.


Tailoring a unit of competency or module to make it relevant to the specific needs of enterprises, industry sectors or particular client groups. Contextualisation rules are stated both within training package qualifications and accredited courses.

Credit transfer

The granting of status or credit by an institution or training organisation to students for modules (subjects) or units of competency completed at the same or another institution or training organisation.

Element of competency

Any of the basic building blocks of a unit of competency which describe the key activities that must be performed to demonstrate competence in the tasks covered by the unit.

Employability skills

The skills which enable people to gain, keep and progress in employment, including skills in the clusters of work readiness and work habits, interpersonal skills and learning, thinking and adaptability skills.

The registration of a person with an education or training provider for the purpose of undertaking a course or module.
Externally delivered VET courses for students in Years 11 & 12. Courses are delivered by TAFE NSW or another external provider.

Higher School Certificate (in New South Wales).
Industry currency

The maintenance of a trainer’s vocational technical skills and knowledge, enabling the trainer to deliver and assess vocational training relevant to current industry practices.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program

(LLNP) A national program which has operated since January 2002 when the Literacy and Numeracy Training Program and the Advanced English for Migrants Program amalgamated to provide a more integrated management approach to addressing language, literacy and numeracy needs among jobseekers. LLNP became the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program in July 2013.


The process of establishing comparability of standards of student performance across different courses, institutions or organisations, in order to ensure that assessment is valid, reliable and fair.

Nationally recognised training

Also called: Accredited training. An accredited program of study that leads to vocational qualifications and credentials that are recognised across Australia. Only registered training organisations that meet government quality standards such as TAFE, private providers, enterprise registered training organisations and vocational divisions of universities can provide nationally recognised training. It includes accredited courses, endorsed training package qualifications and associated subjects.


Open Training and Education Network, the specialist distance education and open learning provider of TAFE NSW.

Off-the-job training
Training which takes place away from a person’s job, usually off the premises, e.g. at TAFE, but may also be on the premises, e.g. in a special training area.
On-the-job training
Training undertaken in the workplace as part of the productive work of the learner.
In vocational education and training (VET), a requirement for admission to a particular course or module, e.g. satisfactory completion of a specific subject or course, at least five years in the workforce, etc.
Formal certification that is awarded by an accredited authority in recognition of the successful completion of an educational program. In the vocational education and training (VET) sector, qualifications are awarded when a person has satisfied all requirements of the units of competency or modules that comprise an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification, as specified by a nationally endorsed training package or an accredited course that provides training for that qualification.
Recognition of prior learning
(RPL) The acknowledgement of a person’s skills and knowledge acquired through previous training, work or life experience, which may be used to grant status or credit in a subject or module. It can lead to a full qualification in the VET sector.

Scope of registration

The particular services and products that a registered training organisation (RTO) is registered to provide. The RTO’s scope defines the specific Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications, units of competency and accredited courses it is registered to provide and whether it is registered to provide: (a) both training delivery and assessment services, and to issue the relevant AQF qualifications and statements of attainment, or (b) only assessment services, and to issue AQF qualifications and statements of attainment.

School Based New Apprenticeship

(SBNA) A formal, structured employment and training arrangement where the student, while counting as a full-time school student, is employed part-time as an apprentice or trainee. As with other apprentices and trainees, a contract of training is established which is registered with the appropriate state registration authority. In addition to a vocational education and training (VET) qualification which is most commonly at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 2, the training generally counts towards the student’s senior secondary school certificate and in some cases for tertiary entrance ranking. Now called Australian School-based Apprenticeships.

Statement of attainment

Formal certification in the vocational education and training sector by a registered training organisation that a person has achieved: (a) part of an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification; or (b) one or more units of competency from a nationally endorsed training package; or (c) all the units of competency or modules comprising an accredited short course.

Structured workplace learning

(SWL) The on-the-job or work placement component of a VET in Schools program. The competencies or ‘learning outcomes’ commonly reflect nationally recognised, industry-defined competency standards. The student is not paid by the employer.

Technical and Further Education, a government training provider which provides a range of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) courses and other programs (e.g. entry and bridging courses, language and literacy courses, adult basic education courses, Senior Secondary Certificate of Education courses, personal enrichment courses, and small business courses).
Tertiary admissions centre
(TAC) A state-based central office that receives and processes applications for admission to participating higher education providers (providers). Rather than applying separately to each institution, TACs streamline the application process by accepting a single application from a person that contains a list of preferences. The Northern Territory and Tasmania do not have a central admissions office. New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory – Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
A person receiving training in a vocational area or undertaking a traineeship. The successful completion of a traineeship leads to a minimum of a certificate II in the relevant vocational area.
A system of vocational training combining off-the-job training with an approved training provider with on-the-job training and practical work experience. Traineeships generally take one to two years and are now a part of the Australian Apprenticeships system.
Training contract
A legally binding agreement between an apprentice or trainee and an employer which defines the rights and responsibilities of each party. These include the employer guaranteeing to train the apprentice or trainee in the agreed occupation or training area, and to allow time off work to attend any required off-the-job training; and the apprentice or trainee agreeing to learn all aspects of the occupation or training area, and to work for the employer for a specified period. It supersedes the indenture system.
Training package
Training packages define the competencies required by different occupations and industries and describe how these competencies may be packaged into nationally recognised and portable qualifications that comply with the Australian Qualifications Framework. A new model for engaging Australian industry in the development of training products was announced in April 2015. Under the new arrangements, endorsements of training packages are done by the Ministerial Council responsible for education and training. The Ministerial Council is supported by three entities: the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC); Industry Reference Committees (IRCs); and Skills Service Organisations (SSOs).
Training plan
A documented program of training and assessment required for an apprenticeship/traineeship training contract. It is developed by a registered training organisation in consultation with the parties to the contract as the basis for training and assessing a person undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Training provider
An organisation which delivers vocational education and training (VET) programs. In Australia, VET providers comprise the state and territory TAFE systems, Australian Technical Colleges, adult and community education providers, agricultural colleges, the VET operations of some universities, schools, private providers, community organisations, industry skill centres, and commercial and enterprise training providers.

The official national register on vocational education and training (VET) in Australia which replaced the National Training Information Service (NTIS). It provides authoritative information on training packages, qualifications, accredited courses, units of competency, skill sets and registered training organisations (RTOs). is managed by the Department of Industry on behalf of state and territory governments.

Unique student identifier

(USI) A national student identifier (or number) for vocational educational education and training (VET) students with the capability of being fully integrated with the entire education and training system and, potentially, also covering early childhood education. A USI would enable all training activity to be linked, facilitating electronic training records of learner attainment (e-portfolios), irrespective of where the training took place. The Unique Student Identifier Act was passed on 27 June 2014 and will commence from 1 January 2015.

Vocational education and training

(VET) Post-compulsory education and training, excluding degree and higher level programs delivered by further education institutions, which provides people with occupational or work-related knowledge and skills. VET also includes programs which provide the basis for subsequent vocational programs. Alternative terms used internationally include technical and vocational education and training (TVET), vocational and technical education and training (VTET), technical and vocational education (TVE), vocational and technical education (VTE), further education and training (FET), and career and technical education (CTE).

VET in Schools
(VETiS) A program which allows students to combine vocational studies with their general education curriculum. Students participating in VET in Schools continue to work towards their Senior Secondary School Certificate, while the VET component of their studies gives them credit towards a nationally recognised VET qualification. VET in Schools programs may involve structured work placements.
VET Quality Framework

(VQF) A set of standards and conditions used by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to assess whether a registered training organisation (RTO) meets the requirements for registration. It comprises: the Standards for National VET Regulator (NVR) Registered Training Organisations; the Fit and Proper Person Requirements; the Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements; the Data Provision Requirements; and the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Work experience

A period (usually one or two weeks) of unpaid work undertaken by secondary school students, typically during Year 10 as part of their careers education, to gain some insight into the world of work.

Work placement
A period of unpaid work with an employer undertaken by vocational education and training (VET) students in order to satisfy the requirements of a course or module, with supervision provided by the employer, the training provider or both.