We get asked a lot of questions about vocational education and training (VET) in our work with industry, training providers and government to review and improve the national qualifications and skills standards. Listed below are some of the more common questions, but please feel free to contact us if you have any others. Our team have a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the VET sector and are happy to answer any queries you have. Not sure who to ask? Email inquiry@skillsimpact.com.au or call 03 9321 3526 and we will do our best to address your query.



Training Packages and the Project Process

Training packages are a collection of documents (such as units of competency, skill set and qualifications) that describe the skills required to perform certain job roles. Training packages are used by registered training organisations and industry as a framework for developing training. They are industry’s way of telling trainers what skills and knowledge students need to perform particular job roles and to what standard. The advantage of training packages is that they offer a national and industry-led approach to training and assessment, giving workers access to skills standards that are recognised across Australia. You can view these at training.gov.au.

Training packages also include one or more quality assured Companion Volumes, to assist RTOs with the implementation of units, qualifications and skill sets.

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  • Qualifications support job roles within industry. They are available from Certificates I, II, III and IV, to Diploma and Advanced Diploma.
  • Units of competency are the building blocks of qualifications. They define the requirements for effective performance in a discrete area of work, work function, activity or process.
  • Skill sets are combinations of units of competency that cover skills required for specialist industry needs (which sometimes can link to a licence or regulatory requirement).

Registered training organisations (RTOs) use training packages to help design their curriculum or training programs. Training packages do not prescribe how an individual should be trained.

RTOs are responsible for assessing whether an individual meets the skills standards specified by industry and described in a training package, and for issuing a nationally recognised unit of competency, skill set or qualification where appropriate.

Each project progresses through six stages – Project Need, Project Plan, Development, Drafts Available, Validation, and Finalisation. The need for each project is identified out of research and industry consultation undertaken by Skills Impact and the Industry Reference Committee (IRC) as part of an IRC Skills Forecasts. These documents are submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) who approve the projects to go ahead.
Each stage involves thorough industry consultation to first identify the skills gaps and then define the skills standards for that particular industry sector or job role(s), and to check whether they have been captured accurately in draft units, skill sets and qualifications. These documents are then prepared for submission to the AISC and State and Territory Ministers as part of the finalisation stage. Once approved, the units, skill sets, and qualifications will be published on training.gov.au and made available for use.

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The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) appoints Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) to oversee the development and review of training packages. Skills Impact is contracted by the Commonwealth to support 12 Industry Reference Committees. Skills Impact consults with industry to provide advice on potential training package projects. Skills Impact then carries out approved projects with further industry input.

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Getting Involved & Having Your Say

Perhaps you have been contacted directly by one of the Skills Impact team members or have been sent information about a current project through one of our newsletters or by a colleague. However you have found us, your time and feedback are valuable. Here is why you should get involved with what we do:

  • So that the future of your industry has access to training that is up-to-date with the most recent skills and knowledge. Which in turn will help business and the wider industry grow and become more competitive.
  • So that changes happening every year in your work environment, legislation, technology, products and consumer trends are reflected in the qualifications. People working in the industry are the best to inform the skills standards for a job role because they are either knowledgeable or experienced in it.
  • To have your say on the skills, opportunities and challenges of your industry. Skills Impact reviews and update a Skills Forecast each year, with advice received from Industry Reference Committees and feedback from the broader industry. This report provides advice about future skills needs and solutions and acknowledges the complexity and value of skills in your industry. It also proposes a four-year plan for reviewing and developing skills standards and qualifications. The Australian Industry Skills Committee considers this report each year to fund training package projects.
  • For the opportunity opportunity to meet other people in your industry and discuss common opportunities and challenges at one of our consultation events.

There are a range of ways to have your say on the skills standards for your industry, depending on the time you have available and level of expertise. If you are interested in getting involved, you can:

  • Express interest to become part of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) group or Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for one of the projects.
  • Provide feedback on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units of competency that the SME group or TAC helps draft. There will be at least two rounds of feedback for each project.
  • Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter and your preferences are up to date to receive newsletter updates on projects relevant to your industry.
  • Get in touch any time with broader thoughts about the skills needs of your sector!

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is a member of industry who has agreed to contribute their time and expertise to the development of units, skill sets and qualifications. They may be knowledgeable about a particular job role, supervise it, have experience performing the role in the past or still be doing it. SMEs help to identify what practices, skills and knowledge are currently required to perform a job function.

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) will usually attend at least two face to face workshops, the location and dates of which will be determined by the project management team during the project planning phase, based on advice from industry and the Industry Reference Committee (IRC). SMEs will also be required to read through draft material and provide some feedback. In total, approximately 25 hours of your time will be required, over a period of about 12 months. Being an SME is a volunteer role, with Skills Impact making arrangements for travel and meetings including covering reasonable and agreed upon out of pocket expenses. More information about SMEs can be found here.

If you have something to say about the skills needs of your industry that is not currently being addressed by a project, you can get in touch with the appropriate Industry Engagement Manager at any time. Your input may help inform work on the Skills Forecast for your industry, which help determine the projects that will be undertaken in future.

Skills Forecasts describe industry trends, opportunities and challenges, and identify skills gaps and emerging skills needs. They propose a four year plan for reviewing and developing relevant units, skill sets and qualifications across the training packages. They are created once every three years, but are updated annually. The Annual Updates identify any specific changes to the industry environment, and address current priority issues. Every year in April, the full Skills Forecast or Annual Update is submitted by the relevant IRC to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). Every year in April, they are submitted by the relevant IRC to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). The AISC advises Commonwealth and State Industry and Skills Ministers on the implementation of national vocational education and training policies, and approves nationally recognised training packages. The AISC draws on this information and project submissions made throughout the year to update their AISC National Schedule.

The AISC requires sufficient information to approve training package projects, with this information either being within the Skills Forecasts or in more detail via a stand-alone Case for Change. View current projects, which have been approved out of previous Skills Forecasts or a Case for Change.

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Delivering the Updated Qualifications, Skill Sets or Units

Companion Volumes assist industry and registered training providers (RTOs) to deliver the units, qualifications and skill sets within a training package. Companion Volumes include information to help trainers adapt to any new changes in a training package, as well as additional information about the impacts of regulation and licensing implications and workplace health and safety on their training. As part of each project a Companion Volume Implementation Guide is produced to convey this information, but some updates to the training package may require additional Companion Volumes to assist in delivery. Companion volumes are available for download on our resources page.

Changes to a training package can affect the units, skill sets, or qualifications currently being used by registered training organisations and industry. There are a number of ways to find out how a training package and the units, skill sets and qualifications within it have changed.

First, search for the unit, skill set or qualification in question on training.gov.au. Go to the middle of the page and find the ‘Content’ heading and click the link to compare. This will take you to a page where you can select the previous release to compare with the updated one. This will give details of any changes that have been made, highlighting the exact wording in a way similar to track changes.

If you would prefer more of an overview you can access a detailed mapping table for the training package via the Companion Volume Implementation Guides or a mapping table for the individual unit at the bottom of the unit page on training.gov.au.