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Becoming an RTO: Considerations, Challenges, and Opportunities

Becoming an RTO

Are you considering the exciting venture of starting your own Registered Training Organisation (RTO)? This path offers the opportunity to deliver accredited courses, nationally and internationally, allowing you to make a difference in the world of education and training, shaping the future workforce. However, it’s a venture no to be taken lightly. The risks are substantial, and as the saying goes, “measure twice, cut once”. Discover everything you need to know about becoming an RTO and the key factors you should consider.

Understanding What it Takes to Become an RTO

A Registered Training Organisation, or RTO, is a registered entity empowered to provide nationally recognised qualifications. As an RTO, you can offer accredited courses both within and outside Australia, including online delivery. This is in stark contrast to non-accredited training organisations that can issue certificates but not in alignment with national standards, making RTO qualifications more valued and credible, especially to international students studying in Australia.

For non-accredited training organisations, the idea of becoming an RTO often arises. It’s important to recognise the significant shift in terms of standards and scope that becoming an RTO entails.

The Benefits of Being an RTO

Once you’ve successfully achieved RTO registration a world of opportunities opens up.

Thees advantages and opportunities of becoming a registered training organisation are undeniably exciting:

  1. Government Funding: One of the most appealing aspects of becoming an RTO is the ability to apply for government funding. Government funding programs vary from state to state, but they often cover a portion of the training costs. This can significantly increase the affordability of your courses and attract a more extensive range of students.
  2. International Appeal: Australian qualifications are not only nationally appealing but are held to a high standard internationally. This means that Australian courses are appealing to people interested in doing a tertiary course worldwide, thus delivering courses worldwide, can expand you reach and income. International students seeking high-quality education are often willing to pay a premium for qualifications from reputable RTOs.
  3. Industry Engagement: Being an RTO requires active engagement with industry stakeholders. It’s essential to stay connected with the industries you serve to ensure that your training aligns with their needs. This connection can lead to partnerships, co-delivery arrangements, and valuable insights into industry trends.
  4. Comprehensive Course Offerings: As an RTO, you have the flexibility to offer a wide range of nationally recognised qualifications. This diversity can cater to different industries and niches, allowing you to meet the specific needs of your target audience.
  5. Educational Growth: Operating as an RTO requires a focus on continuous improvement. This commitment to quality education and training can lead to personal and professional growth, as well as satisfaction in making a positive impact on the lives of your students.
  6. Online and International Delivery: RTOs are not confined to delivering education within Australia. You can extend your reach internationally and offer courses online. This flexibility enables you to tap into global markets, offering your expertise to learners worldwide.
  7. Student Recruitment: Your RTO status brings added credibility, making it easier to attract students. This can be especially advantageous if you are competing in a crowded educational landscape.
  8. Economic Growth: As an RTO, you contribute to the economic growth of your region and the nation by providing education and training that aligns with industry needs. This can result in a skilled and adaptable workforce that is better prepared for the challenges of the job market.

Crucial Considerations When Becoming an RTO

Before embarking on the journey of becoming an RTO, it’s important to consider several factors:

  1. Financial Costs: According to Insources, the cost of establishing an RTO can start from $44,000, up to $178,000 and can be even higher depending on the size and scope of the RTO being registered.
  2. Industry Relevance: Assess whether your industry requires nationally recognised qualifications. In some sectors, RTO qualifications are mandatory.
  3. Complementing Existing Services: If you have another business or consulting service, consider becoming an RTO to diversify and expand your portfolio.
  4. No Training Background Required: You don’t need a training background; you can hire qualified trainers and assessors for your RTO, a consultant to help you set it up and software solutions to support you in recording data and maintaining compliance.
  5. International Market Expansion: If you intend to attract international students to Australia, becoming an RTO and gaining CRICOS registration is a strategic move.
  6. Buying an RTO: If you’re considering purchasing an existing RTO, be aware of the risks. Ensure you meet financial viability and standards compliance.
  7. ASQA Scrutiny for Change of Ownership: Significant ownership changes, such as acquiring 50% or more of the shares, undergo AS

How to Determine the Training Packages and Skill Sets to Deliver?

The outlook for VET (Vocational Education and Training) skills in various occupations appears promising and robust. Selecting the right training packages and skill sets to offer within your scope of registration plays a pivotal role in securing your long-term viability.

The 2021 Employment Projections Report shows the top 8 growth occupations relevant to Vocational Education and Training. To maintain transparency, it’s important to clarify that this dataset strictly covers skill levels spanning from Certificate One to Advanced Diploma. The addition of tertiary qualifications beyond this range can complicate the data analysis.

Top 8 Growth Occupations

Data from the Employment Projections Report

Aged and Disability Carers take the lead in our Top 10 list, showing a staggering 28% job growth projection by 2026. As a result, the industries’ new jobs will grow by 74,900.

How to choose RTO Management software?

RTOs are required to have an AVETMISS (Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard) compliant database that collects sufficient evidence against the standards.

The majority of RTOs employ a comprehensive Student Management System (SMS) to efficiently collect and manage data, along with performing a wide array of other essential functions. When seeking an SMS, it’s crucial to ensure that it encompasses the following key features:

  1. Enrolment and Student Data Management: The system should streamline the enrolment procedure while providing effective tools to manage student records, encompassing personal details, course advancements, and assessment outcomes.
  2. Certificate and Letter of Offer Generation: An effective SMS should have the capability to generate certificates and letters of offer, simplifying administrative tasks.
  3. Financial Management: The SMS should facilitate financial management, aiding in budgeting, expense tracking, and financial planning.
  4. Contract Management: Streamlining contract management processes is essential. Your SMS should make it easy to create, track, and manage contracts efficiently.
  5. CRICOS Integration: For RTOs dealing with international students, it should include CRICOS management features to help you meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.
  6. Progress Dashboards: An SMS with robust progress dashboards provides real-time insights into student and course progress, aiding in performance evaluation and decision-making.
  7. Compliance Documentation Management: Managing compliance documents is a critical function. Look for an SMS that seamlessly handles your continuous improvement register, complaints, appeals, industry improvement, and other necessary compliance documents.
  8. Multi-functionality: A high-quality SMS should go beyond these basic functions and offer more features to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Choosing an SMS that fulfills these criteria is vital for the seamless management of your RTO’s administrative and compliance-related tasks.

If you’re offering online or blended courses, it’s essential to have a Learning Management System (LMS). Moreover, your Student Management System should be purpose-built for RTOs and seamlessly integrated with the LMS. This integration ensures a smooth flow of information between the two systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry from the LMS to the SMS. Operating with disconnected systems can be highly inconvenient, time-intensive, and financially burdensome. This is counterproductive when you want to be implementing strategies to position your RTO for long-term success, while keeping initial costs in check.

In order for your RTO to keep costs minimal, eSkilled offers a FREE subscription to the integrated learning management system (LMS) and student management system (SMS) for start-up RTOs.  Payment for the subscription will start as soon as completion of TGA registration, enrolment of first 5 students, or after 6 months of taking advantage of the offer – whichever comes first.

Only costs that RTO need to pay is the setup and training, and we’ll have the system running up in no time. It’s important to note that the minimum subscription duration covers a 12-month period, commencing with the initial monthly payment. This approach allows you to optimize your resources while benefiting from our comprehensive educational management system.

Meet ASQA: The Watchdogs of Quality Education

In your journey to become an RTO, you will become acquainted with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). ASQA plays a pivotal role in the vocational education and training sector by regulating the Standards for RTOs and ensuring compliance. It’s crucial to understand that ASQA doesn’t write the standards but is responsible for enforcing them and making sure that anyone aspiring to become an RTO or CRICOS provider complies with legislative requirements.

ASQA’s primary function is to conduct a performance assessment (also known as an audit) of RTOs across Australia to ascertain their compliance with legislation. Before gaining registration, your RTO will be audited by ASQA. This performance assessment assesses your readiness to deliver and assess quality education, including your available resources, trainers, training rooms, assessment tools, and training materials.

It’s important to note that the legislation governing RTOs and CRICOS providers is written and approved by government bodies, which ASQA enforces.

The Process for Submitting RTO Registration with ASQA

When applying for registration with ASQA, it’s crucial to note a few essential aspects:

  1. Submit All Required Documents: ASQA now requires all documents to be submitted with the initial application. It’s no longer possible to submit some documents now and some during an performance assessment.
  2. Limitations After Submission: Once your application is in, you cannot change your location, trainers, or training products. ASQA places restrictions on post-submission changes.
  3. Financial Viability: Part of the initial registration process includes demonstrating your financial viability. You must prove that your RTO can sustain itself, manage growth, and forecast income for the next three years.
  4. Self-Assessment: For both initial registration and when acquiring an existing RTO, a self-assessment is mandatory. This self-assessment demonstrates your capacity to meet standards and operate an RTO.

Documents for ASQA Registration

To navigate the complex world of ASQA registration, you will need to prepare various documents and forms, including:

  1. Strategic Business Plan: This outlines your three-year plan, detailing the resources your RTO can access, how you will deliver training and assessment, and strategies for growth.
  2. Enterprise RTO Business Plan (if applicable): This plan is specific to your RTO, focusing on training and forecasted income.
  3. Financial Viability Assessment: You need to demonstrate projected profit and loss, budget spreadsheets, and future planning for your RTO.
  4. Training and Assessment Strategies: These comprehensive plans outline training and assessment strategies for each training product on your scope of registration.
  5. Training and Assessment Tools: Prepare training delivery plans, detailed materials, session plans, training materials, and resources for delivery and assessment.
  6. Trainer Matrix: This matrix demonstrates the skills and knowledge of your trainers and assessors against the competencies they will deliver.
  7. Policies and Procedures: A comprehensive set aligned with RTO standards, covering the entire process of managing quality training and assessment.
  8. Marketing Materials: Include course flyers, website content, and documentation supporting the training products offered.

NOTE: Additional requirements apply if you’re applying for CRICOS registration.

Critical Requirements for RTO Registration

To successfully obtain RTO registration, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Compliance with RTO Standards: This ensures your operations align with the standards set for RTOs.
  2. Strict Adherence to Training Package requirements and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF): Your testamurs, as well as your training and assessment materials, must comply with these frameworks.
  3. Fit and Proper Person: You must demonstrate your suitability as an operator, and your ownership history, will be scrutinised.
  4. Financial Viability Risk Assessment: ASQA requires you to forecast financial stability for the first three years of your RTO’s operation.
  5. Data Provisioning Requirements: You need an AVETMIS compliant database to collect sufficient evidence against the data standards.

It’s important to note that these requirements also apply when you’re buying an existing RTO.

Transitioning to CRICOS Registration

If you intend to admit international students into Australia, CRICOS registration is a vital step. To gain CRICOS registration, you must:

  • Comply with ESOS Act (Education Services for Overseas Students) and the National Code.
  • Submit various forms and documents, including “Fit and Proper Person” forms, CEO Declaration of Compliance, Financial Viability Key Information Pack, Self-Assessment Form for quality education, and additional documentation.

CRICOS registration involves unique requirements to ensure compliance and quality education for international students.

The prospect of establishing your own Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is both exciting and demanding. The journey offers significant rewards, such as government funding, international recognition, and the opportunity to shape education globally. However, the path requires meticulous planning and consideration of various factors, from industry relevance to financial viability.

Aspiring RTO founders must navigate regulatory hurdles and demonstrate their commitment to delivering quality training and assessment. Despite the challenges, a well-informed and strategic approach can pave the way for a successful business that not only changes lives but contributes to the growth and adaptability of Australia’s future workforce.

Need extra support in getting started?

SKG Consulting, an industry leader, provides expert guidance and support at every stage of your RTO journey. If you are ready to get started and make an impact in the world of education and training, partnering with SKG Consulting could be your next step. Discover how SKG Consulting can assist in transforming your vision into reality and propelling your educational mission forward. Take the first step towards making a difference in the world of education and training.

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