Covid-19 Information for Registered Training Organisations (FAQs)

Training Services NSW is committed to work in collaboration with federal, state and local government to assist Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) impacted by COVID.

TSNSW's regional and metropolitan offices are able to provide support and information to impacted RTOs. Please call 13 28 11.

The NSW Government has released information for employers and others to help stop the spread.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has established an Info Line to support providers. Providers that are impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the ASQA Info Line on 1300 701 801 or at enquiries@asqa.gov.au to discuss adaptive measures.

For further information for RTOs, please visit ASQA.

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Frequently asked questions

General questions

For information about the support available to international students, please visit www.scfintakesupport.org.au

Training Services NSW will work with Providers to explore possible options for the continuation of subsidised training. Please keep your Strategic Relationship Manager (SRM) updated on your circumstances so that they can explore how Training Services NSW can best support your organisation and its learners.

For available Australian Government assistance for businesses please see: www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business

For available NSW Government Assistance for businesses please see: service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-businesses/grants-loans-and-financial-assistance

Please contact your Strategic Relationship Manager (SRM) directly or contact 13 28 11 if you are concerned about:

  • being closed temporarily due to a Coronavirus outbreak your premises
  • payments and financial caps
  • data clarification and submitting training activity data
  • Brokering Arrangements – what to do if you are unable to continue the delivery of training
  • extending training end-dates
  • providing help to other RTOs if able to do so
  • meeting Skilling for Recovery enrolment timeframes
  • meeting any of your Smart and Skilled contractual obligations

Please also follow normal eReporting requirements as per the Smart and Skilled Contract Terms and Conditions. If you have questions relating to submitting Training Activity Data, creating Commitment IDs, etc.,technical support can be obtained from Training Market Customer Service by emailing: training.market@det.nsw.edu.au.

If you are concerned about your contractual obligations with ASQA, please visit ASQA's website which includes up to date information regarding any changes to reporting and other measures currently being considered due to COVID-19.

If you or your students are unable to attend a workplace to conduct training or assessment, consideration could be given to how you can remotely observe the learner. For example:

  • use video recordings (from recording on a phone to more complex technologies), and
  • use Skype and other video conferencing software.

Assessors could view students’ participation in activities remotely, using the same observation checklists they have when on site, and can continue to make valid and sufficient judgements.

It may also be necessary to defer conducting the observations until such time as you can effectively undertake this process.

Further information on compliance arrangements.

ASQA also encourages any providers impacted by COVID-19 to contact their Info Line on 1300 701 801 or to email enquiries@asqa.gov.au to discuss any adaptive measures being considered.

Where possible you should make use of adaptive training modes, such as on-line training programs.

Skype and other digital meeting platforms may be suitable to engage with learners who have self-isolated where face-to-face training is to be maintained.

You must ensure that good records are maintained for all training and assessment that has been conducted.

Discuss with your student other training and assessment options, including changing the mode of training delivery.

Where possible and appropriate, an apprenticeship or traineeship employer MUST allow their apprentice or trainee to participate in formal training, and that training MUST occur during paid work hours.

ASQA states that students may be able to undertake training in a simulated environment before going to a workplace to continue their learning or to conduct assessment (when they are able to attend a workplace). Simulated training can be conducted remotely, however, you need to consider how students can gain access to resource requirements to effectively practise these skills.
For more information, please visit the ASQA website.

Note: the link above takes you to this key info:
Students may be able to undertake training in a simulated environment before going to a workplace to continue their learning or to conduct assessment (when they are able to attend a workplace). Simulated training can be conducted remotely, however. RTOs should consider how students gain access to resource requirements to effectively practise these skills.

RTOs should consider the specific assessment conditions described in the assessment requirements of each unit of competency. In some instances, assessment requirements allow for assessment to be conducted in the workplace or a simulated environment. Where simulation is allowed, RTOs should review the specific training package requirements to be able to replicate the simulated environment.

However, where assessment can be conducted only in the workplace, that component of assessment will need to be deferred until such time that it can be conducted. In these instances RTOs:

  • should ensure students are aware of, and have record of, the portion of assessment completed for the unit
  • can adjust their training and assessment strategy to rearrange sequencing of delivery of units of competency
  • should deliver an alternate unit of competency (that does not require practical assessment, or where theoretical learning can be provided in part).

Training Plans (Apprenticeships and Traineeships)

If formal training is continuing, then training plan obligations need to be met. If formal training for an apprenticeship or traineeship is suspended, then your obligations in relation to the training plan are suspended.

If an extension of the term of training is needed, then all parties still need to apply. However, as training is competency based, we suggest that all parties wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term.

Due to COVID 19, Training Services NSW will not require a Training Plan to be lodged with Term Extension requests of up to 3 months. Term Extensions over 3 months will require an amended full Training Plan.

Yes. Your obligations under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act, including this one, are only suspended or cancelled if the traineeship or apprenticeship is suspended or cancelled.

Yes. Your obligations under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act, including this one, are only suspended or cancelled if the traineeship or apprenticeship is suspended or cancelled.

In response to the difficulties created by COVID 19 in getting signatures on Training Plan Proposals and Training Plans, we have temporarily relaxed this requirement. There are a few options for gaining everyone’s consent.

Option1:

Continue to obtain signatures as usual.

Option2:

Training Plan Proposal (TPP)

  • The Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) will email a completed TPP to you, the learner and the employer.
  • You will all (learner, employer and RTO) acknowledge receipt of the TPP via email by selecting “Reply to all” and including this statement:

    I (full name) certify that I acknowledge/understand/agree with the details of this training arrangement and my obligations and responsibilities under the Training Plan.

  • The ANP will be required to maintain evidence of your consent and be able to provide this to Training Services NSW if requested.

Training Plan – Developed within 12 Weeks of Approval

  • The same processes apply as for TPP except:
    • You (the RTO) will prepare the Training Plan (TP); and
    • You (the RTO) must retain evidence of consent by all parties, and be able to provide this to Training Services NSW if requested.

Option3:

A combination of signatures and emails.

Delivery mode changes (Apprenticeships and Traineeships)

If you anticipate that this is a temporary change, and all parties have agreed to it, then that is fine and you do NOT need to advise the Department.

No, changing delivery strategies will not impact on the amount of payments a Smart and Skilled Provider is paid. All necessary Smart and Skilled contractual requirements will need to be complied with.

There is no impact on apprenticeship or traineeship scholarships or concessions.

Apprentices and trainees

If formal training is continuing, then training plan obligations need to be met.

If an extension of the term of training is needed, then all parties still need to apply. However, we suggest that all parties wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term.

We suggest that you liaise with the employer and apprentice or trainee regarding the need for them to lodge a term extension application, and they can contact their ANP, or call us on 13 28 11 for assistance. Note, it is mandatory that the apprentice or trainee is still employed by the employer where an extension of term is requested.

Due to COVID 19, Training Services NSW will not require a Training Plan to be lodged with Term Extension requests of up to 3 months. Term Extensions over 3 months will require an amended full Training Plan.

Yes, apprentices and trainees can continue to access funded training with their approved Smart and Skilled RTO if their apprenticeship or traineeship is cancelled.

If you are unable to access a workplace to deliver training, you should negotiate with the employer to see if training can be delivered by an alternative, acceptable mode of delivery.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2022 (excluding SBATs), if there is no acceptable solution, formal training may be suspended, with the agreement of all parties, for periods of up to six months. Parties should advise the Department of this training suspension. Note, suspension of formal training may require the employer and learner to seek an extension to the training term at a later date.

Signature Training Plan - Endorsement

Yes. Your obligations under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act, including this one, are only suspended or cancelled if the traineeship or apprenticeship is suspended or cancelled.

If you are experiencing difficulties in obtaining this endorsement, you should make every effort to resolve the situation yourselves. Where this fails, you should send an RTO Notification form to TS NSW who will attempt to resolve the situation.

In response to the possible difficulties created by COVID-19 in getting an employer’s endorsement/signature for a learner’s competency on Parts 2 and 5 of a Training Plan, a combination of signatures and emails may be retained as evidence.

For confirmation of the employer’s endorsement of Part 2 of the Training Plan, the email should list all units of competency that the learner has undertaken and confirm clearly that the employer endorses the competency for those units.

For endorsement of Part 5 of the Training Plan an employer must confirm their endorsement by including an acknowledgment including the following statement:

I (full name of employer) endorse that (full name of learner) is competent to industry standards in the nominated vocation and that I understand by providing this endorsement:

  • I confirm that my (apprentice/trainee’s) competency and support the issue of the qualification by the RTO; and
  • I may be obligated to pay a higher rate of pay as a result of the qualification being issued (check award requirements); and
  • I and or my (apprentice/trainee) can seek to complete the (apprenticeship/traineeship) before the nominal completion date OR continue in the apprenticeship/traineeship up to the nominal completion date.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2022, if this is a temporary change in delivery mode in response to COVID 19, the employer and learner do NOT need to apply for a variation.

If this is a permanent change, then yes, the employer and learner will need to complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW.

The employer and apprentice/trainee will need to seek an extension of term. However, it is suggested that parties wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term.

It is suggested that you liaise with the employer regarding the need for them to lodge a variation request form.

Due to COVID-19, Training Services NSW will not require a Training Plan to be lodged with Term Extension requests of up to 3 months. Term Extensions over 3 months will require an amended full Training Plan.

Yes, apprentices and trainees can continue to access funded training with their approved Smart and Skilled RTO whilst looking for a new employer if their apprenticeship or traineeship is cancelled.

Yes. If an apprentice or trainee was in a Smart & Skilled fee free funded arrangement which is cancelled, but subsequently re-established with the same employer, the learner will continue to be eligible for fee free funded training.

School based apprentices and trainees - General

Yes.

The employer, SBAT and school will need to look for an alternative RTO that may continue to deliver training and assessment services. Note, extended breaks in training for SBAT students may impact their achievement of the HSC. The student’s school must be notified in these instances.

If a student wants to cancel, they must liaise with their school to check the impact on HSC and ATAR eligibility.

Financial Cap management

Please contact your Strategic Relationships Manager (SRM) to discuss any issues and difficulties associated with your financial cap usage.

Targeted Priorities Pre-Vocational Part Qualifications (TPPPQ)

If you have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and training has had to cease, please contact your approving Training Services NSW Regional Office and provide them with your TNI/PAS reference to discuss an extension.

At this time, training end dates for the part qualification training will also be considered.

If training has commenced but cannot be completed by the original or extended PAS training completion date, training activity data should be submitted to finalise all Commitment IDs with relevant Unit of Competency Outcomes. Please note this includes outcome code 40 – withdrawn (where the student has participated in training).

Yes. If training has commenced but cannot be completed by the original or extended PAS training completion date, training activity data should be submitted to finalise all Commitment IDs with relevant Unit of Competency Outcomes. Please note this includes outcome code 40 – withdrawn (where the student has participated in training).

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