Fact sheet—Delivering elective units

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Background

Flexibility in the structure of a qualification gives RTOs greater ability to customise training package qualifications to meet their market’s needs.

This fact sheet explains how RTOs registered with ASQA can deliver elective units as part of a training package qualification. 

Packaging rules and elective units

The packaging rules for a training package qualification set out the overall requirements to achieve that qualification. The packaging rules clearly state what the core and elective requirements are for that qualification.

Packaging rules specify:

  • the number and source of elective units that can be included in a qualification
  • the number of elective units that can be drawn from within the ‘host’ training package
  • the number of elective units that can be drawn from other training packages, and
  • the number of elective units that can be drawn from accredited courses.

Sometimes, units taken from other training packages or accredited courses are referred to as ‘imported’ units.

In some cases, a stated number of elective units must be selected from a specific list (or ‘bank’) of units identified in the packaging rules.

Elective units selected must be relevant to:

  • the work outcome
  • local industry requirements, and
  • the qualification level. 

How RTO delivery of elective units is regulated

Under state and territory bodies

In the past, state and territory registering bodies have had different approaches to regulating RTO delivery of units included as elective units within a qualification:

  1. In some states and territories, RTOs were required to notify the registering body if
    • the RTO planned to offer/deliver a unit of competency as an elective unit within a qualification for the first time, and
    • the elective unit was not drawn from the training package that hosted that qualification.
  1. Other registering bodies required RTOs to formally apply to add a unit that didn’t originate from the host training package to their scope of registration. The RTO was required to formally apply before offering/delivering this unit as an elective unit of a qualification.
  2. Other registering bodies did not require notification or a formal application.

Under ASQA

ASQA has taken the third of the above approaches.

As a general rule, ASQA RTOs can offer/deliver units that are

  • not specifically referenced in the packaging rules of a qualification the RTO is registered to provide, and/or
  • not drawn from the training package that hosts the qualification in which the unit is being included as an elective

—without notifying or formally applying to ASQA, provided these units are being included as part of the full qualification delivery program.

Requirements under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 defines scope of registration as ‘the things that an organisation is registered to do’. If an RTO is registered to deliver a qualification, it may include any unit(s) of competency into its delivery program that the Qualification Packaging Rules of that qualification permit.

However, RTOs must ensure that they are fully resourced to meet all requirements of the Assessment Guidelines of the training package from which any elective unit is drawn.

This includes requirements relating to the competence of trainers/assessors, industry relevance of facilities and resources, and validity and reliability of assessment processes and tools.

Units with recognised industry licensing or regulatory outcomes

RTOs should also be particularly aware of the implications on students and industry of offering / delivering units which have recognised industry licensing or regulatory outcomes (for example, the ‘Licence to ...’ units in the TLI10 Transport and Logistics Training Package).

Usually, special arrangements are in place between industry regulators and ASQA to assure the quality of outcomes achieved by students. If such units are delivered without all requirements relating to registration to deliver these units having been fulfilled, students will not be able to access the licensed or regulatory outcome.

Information about external licensing and additional registration requirements is available on the ASQA website.

The Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 (the Standards) require that training and assessment strategies and practices, including the amount of training provided, meet the requirements of relevant training packages or accredited courses, and are relevant to the needs of industry and informed by industry engagement.

This requirement extends to the choice of electives an RTO intends to include as part of a qualification. ASQA monitors the compliance of all ASQA RTOs with the requirements of the Standards through a rigorous audit program and on a risk management basis. ASQA RTOs must be prepared to provide evidence to support their choice of elective units. Non-compliance with the Standards can incur a range of action, including:

  • fines
  • suspension of registration, and
  • cancellation of registration.

Delivery of standalone units

If an ASQA RTO intends to offer/deliver a unit that is

  • a core unit of competency, or
  • a named elective unit of competency

—within the packaging rules of a qualification the RTO has on its scope of registration, the RTO can offer/deliver/issue a statement of attainment for the unit without first applying to ASQA to have the unit explicitly listed on its scope of registration.

If an ASQA RTO intends to offer/deliver a unit that is not

  • a core unit of competency, or
  • a named elective unit of competency

—within the packaging rules of a qualification the RTO has on its scope of registration, the RTO cannot offer/deliver/issue a statement of attainment for the unit, unless it has applied to ASQA to have the unit explicitly listed on its scope of registration and that application has been granted

More information

For more information visit the ASQA website.

If you have questions about the information in this fact sheet, email enquiries@asqa.gov.au, or call the ASQA Info line on 1300 701 801. The info line operates from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm, EST, Monday to Friday.


Download the Fact sheet—Delivering elective units (PDF 233kb).

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