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Everything You Need To Know About The RTO Industry Before Getting Involved

By Contributing Writer
Rosana Beechum
December 02, 2021

In modern Australia, more and more people are starting to get involved with unique RTO businesses across multiple industries. Whether you’re a knowledgeable person in a niche industry who wants to lend a hand, or you’re a venture capitalist looking to purchase a new business. It may be more work than you expect, but the benefits will make it worthwhile. Here is everything you need to know about RTOs before you get involved.

Defining What An RTO Is

Before first getting involved with an RTO, you should have a pretty good idea of what they’re about. It stands for a registered training organisation, and they help provide training and education via assessments and courses to several important industries across Australia.

Some RTOs can be quite a niche in the areas they deal in, which means there may not be a lot of competition for them. Take construction, for example, there may not be many RTOs out there regarding hillside building safety guides, which means you could help to design these. You will need to hire trainers and instructors with experience to oversee some of these more important courses, with others being completed and regulated online.

If you are planning on opening an RTO business from scratch, then you are likely to be scrutinised and analysed by the ASQA, who will want to ensure you are fit for purpose and have an idea of what you want to do. If you wish to purchase an already established RTO business, then you will again need to contact the ASQA, who will assess your skills for the job.

Defining Who The ASQA Are

When getting involved with running an RTO, it will be imperative to know all about the importance of the ASQA. If you don’t know, the ASQA are the official regulators for the vocational education and training sector in Australia. It is primarily their role to regulate RTOs such as yourself, to ensure that you are following protocol.

Working within the RTO industry means you will communicate within the ASQA often. You will get to know what they expect from a classic assessment process, as well as the procedures involved in your business. The ASQA themselves will be regulated, sending off an annual report to the COAG Industry and Skills Council, as well as the Australian Parliament.

The ASQA are responsible for roughly 90% of Australian training providers, supplying accredited VET courses that meet the national standards. For most states, including New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, the ASQA are the regulator body. In states such as Victoria and Western Australia, they are the regulatory body for registered training organisations that offer courses to overseas students and online students.

If you ever have any doubts about your RTO or wish to report a change in circumstances, then it will be important for you to contact them as soon as possible. You may find you break the regulation and therefore the law if you’re not careful.

Industries You Can Get Involved With

As RTO’s are privately owned businesses that provide for vocational education and training services, otherwise known as VET, they have several industries of interest. Most commonly, these can come in the form of health, security and construction.

For health, it could be from a medical point of view, with courses designed to educate staff on the latest health techniques. This could even be inside a hospital or medical facility, but this will need to be to a higher standard. Otherwise, restaurants will benefit from general health and safety courses which are designed to improve the working conditions and keep employees safe.

Security courses help qualify individuals in physical security roles, which is a growing industry over the last few years. However, this could also refer to cyber-security which is emerging in Australia, with courses designed to help individuals protect their interests online both in the workplace and at home.

Acquiring Assessment Tools

To have the best chance of your RTO business being a success, you will need to have the most useful assessment tools on the market. Not only that, but you will need to have useful software that can be applied to a magnitude of different clients. Essentially, you should have the tools readily available that make your life much easier.

These could come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on what industry or work you’re specialising in. However, there will be some tools available for every industry. Take Cloud Assess as an example, they can support all your assessment needs including knowledge assessment, evidence portfolio, practical assessments and more. You can browse options and packages at

One of the most important elements of your business will be your ability to assess students and workers in the way the clients deem fit. If you don’t get this right, then you risk the entire reputation of your business.

Purchasing An RTO

If you are planning on getting involved with an RTO business, you should be aware that the Australian regulations slightly differ in comparison to purchasing a normal business. For example, the registration of the RTO will not automatically transfer to the new owner once purchased. This means that if you are planning to purchase an RTO business outright, you will first need to apply to the ASQA for an initial RTO registration.

If you do not do this, then you legally will not be able to operate the business. If your application to the ASQA is complete, then you will be able to hold the registration for two years, until it will then be looked at again.

When you apply for registration, you will need to make it clear what you are registering for, and what you will be acquiring. It could be for certain business assets or it could be for the shareholding of an entity that currently holds the registration. The ASQA will require you to comply with their regulations and they will inspect you.

Ongoing Operation Costs

As with any other business, there will be costs that you pay to run an RTO. One of the first fees you will likely pay will be for the registration fee of $500. This will come to you as an initial invoice, once registration is complete.

Aside from the initial cost, you will be expected to pay towards initial assessment fees, annual RTO registration charges, and change of scope fees going forward. You can find out more about the fees by visiting the ASQA website, to find all the costs involved and the steps you need to take.

Compliance Audit Obligations

You should note that the ASQA may carry out a compliance audit with you at any time to assess your RTO’s commitment to the rules. They may visit for this audit if they suspect that your RTO is failing to meet its obligations, or suspect some issues need looking at. These issues may have been raised by those who underwent assessments with you, or they could be based on the previous results of a past audit.

If you happen to fail any of these regulations and audits, then you may be forced to sell the business or step down in general. They are likely to give you suggestions to make for a first time fail before any drastic action is taken, so you will need to heed their warnings.

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