What is a Training Package?

A training package is something that is really commonly confused with things like 'learning programs' or 'training schedules', 'session plans' or some other form of training that's been put together to be delivered for whatever purpose. 

But a 'training package' is actually a thing in the vocational education and training sector. In fact, it's a really important thing. Everybody working in the VET sector really needs to know about them, what they're for, and how to use them. 

It's something that will really guide your training to ensure that it's compliant moving forward. So, in this blog (and video), we’ll explain some of those misconceptions. 

Where do training packages come from? 

The Vocational Education and Training sector in Australia used to be made up of eight public TAFE systems each run by their own state or territory governments, as well as a bunch of other industry and commercial vocational education providers. 

This meant that there was absolutely no consistency in the training outcomes being delivered to people in different states or territories. For example, someone may have studied hard and completed a qualification in one state, but the content being taught and the outcomes were likely to be vastly different from those being delivered elsewhere in the country.

It was as though every state and territory in Australia were separate islands and they were all doing their own thing. Imagine if an employment opportunity came up somewhere else in Australia. You could certainly pack your qualification in your bag and take it with you but you may have to leave it with customs when you cross the state border because that qualification may not be recognised at your destination.

From an economic perspective, this system also meant that the federal government was funding eight different systems that were all trying to achieve the same thing, but in their own ways. It just didn't make sense.

So in 1992, it was agreed that a more coordinated and uniform Vocational Education and Training system should be implemented. In 1996 the concept of training packages was first conceived as a way to standardise and centralise vocational education and training in Australia. 

In 1997 the first training packages were endorsed launching the start of a national Vocational Education and Training system.

Why do we need training packages?

A major goal of training packages and a national system is to ensure consistency of skills and knowledge requirements for qualifications regardless of where they're being delivered. In other words, qualifications that are achieved under the national system are portable and recognised nationally.

Today there are around 56 current training packages covering the workplace skill and knowledge requirements of almost every industry area you can think of. Most importantly, the skills and knowledge contained within each training package has been determined through close consultation with industry. This ensures that learners exiting training with qualifications from our training packages have the current skills and knowledge needed in their workplace.

Training packages outline the skills and knowledge that individuals must demonstrate to perform competently in the workplace. That means that what's included and the skills our students learn align with current industry Trends. It's what industry wants them to have. 

Training packages focus on the skills and knowledge that would be expected of these people rather than the learning process itself. So, the training packages are written in a way that allows trainers and assessors to contextualise or customise their learning and assessment strategies to suit different learner needs and different training needs. Although training packages identify the required skills and knowledge, they don't dictate how the training should be delivered. That's up to us.

There are endorsed components within training packages that are used to help us develop training and assessment. 

How do we use training packages?

Firstly training packages contain the different qualifications that are available for specific industry areas. These qualifications are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework or the AQF which outlines different complexity requirements at each qualification level. 

Within the VET sector these qualifications range from Certificate I, which is very entry level, through to an Advanced Diploma which requires more complex Knowledge and Skills. Each of these qualifications are made up of several ‘units of competency’ which outline the specific skill and knowledge requirements that a learner must have to be deemed competent. 

Every unit of competency is also accompanied by an 'Assessment Requirements' document that outlines the critical skills and knowledge evidence that must be gathered, as well as explaining the specific conditions where training and assessment is allowed to take place. We'll drill down a little bit deeper into those components in some of our other bite-sized tutorials.

Think of training packages as a large box or a filing cabinet. When you open one, you'll find all the qualifications available for that particular industry are listed in order of their AQF levels. If you select a qualification from the box and look inside, you'll find instructions called 'Packaging Rules’. 

These rules guide you in selecting the ‘Units of Competency’ that make up that qualification. Before receiving that qualification, the student would need to demonstrate all of the skills and knowledge contained in the units of competency, and we'll talk more about this in other bite-size tutorials. 

Where do I find what’s in a training package?

Training packages are part of a national system that is accessible from a central location which is called training.gov.au. It's a website. We refer to it also as ‘TGA’. At TGA you can search for and download training packages and any components contained within the training package by visiting the site. So let's go to training.gov.au now (seen in the video), search for a training package and find a current qualification so that you can get a feel for what it's like. 

There are three simple steps to follow to access a training package and find a current qualification.  

  1. You'll need to visit the national vocational education training register at training.gov.au. 
  2. Find a training package that represents the industry area that you need. 
  3. Select a current qualification that suits your training needs.

When you arrive at training.gov.au, enter a keyword related to the industry area that you're interested in into the search panel to start looking for the relevant training package. Your search may give you a broad range of results so you can narrow down the search by selecting 'Current' which means only display content that is current and, also select 'training package' because this is the specific component that you're looking for at the moment.

You may need to broaden your search if your search didn't find any training packages. For example, if I had a search for 'kitchen hand' I'd probably get zero results because it's actually part of a greater industry area. But if I narrowed my search to something like 'hospitality' which is much broader, I'll probably find something. My search for Hospitality identified one current training package related to the hospitality industry. It's called SIT (which is the code), and it's the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package. Every training package has a specific three-letter code to identify it and in this case, it's SIT.

Click on the training package title, which is actually a link. It'll take you directly to the training package within TGA, where you'll see a list of all the available qualifications within that particular industry area. 

You may have to scroll down a little bit, but you'll find the 'Qualifications' section within the training package and there you'll see a list of all the available qualifications. They're grouped according to the different qualification levels. You’ll notice they’re listed in order from the lowest qualification level through to the highest. When selecting a qualification, it's also important to check that it's current. TGA keeps superseded information available because sometimes we need to compare new information with old information when changes happen; when new training packages are released or updated.

If you scroll down past the qualification section, you'll find a list of units of competency that are included in this particular training package. The training package I selected for this example includes 227 units of competency related to the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry. 

An important thing to remember about training packages is that they contain all of the qualifications that are available within different industry areas, and the same qualification requirements apply regardless of who is delivering the qualification and, where it's being delivered. 

Training packages formed the national vocational education training system in Australia, and all information regarding nationally recognised training is stored at training.gov.au, the national vet register in Australia.

We really hope this bite-sized tutorial has been helpful in shedding some light on what training packages are and their importance as part of our national vocational education and training system. 

I highly recommend taking a virtual excursion to training.gov.au and looking at the training packages available in your industry area. Also, look at the qualifications and units of competencies that exist within each training package. 

If you want to know more about the courses we offer here at Fortress, feel free to contact one of our Course Advisors.

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