What is a VET Qualification and How Do I Use the Packaging Rules?

This is a great question and a common one so we’re going to explain what a qualification is in the context of the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, and how the packaging rules are used to select the units of competency that are included in a qualification. 

So let's start by identifying exactly what a qualification is. A qualification is a certificate or diploma that's awarded to someone after they've successfully completed a vocational education training course in Australia. VET qualifications are designed to provide students with the practical skills and knowledge that are needed to transition into the job role or industry in which they want to work in. VET qualifications in Australia include Certificates 1 2 3 and 4 as well as the diploma and advanced diploma. 

The outcomes and expected learning complexity for each of these qualifications is determined by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which is the policy that has been designed to ensure a consistent understanding across Australia about what defines each qualification. You can find out more about the AQF and download a copy of the framework by visiting aqf.edu.au

Qualification documents like the ‘Units of Competency’ are endorsed components of the overarching training package. There are many different training packages covering almost every industry area in Australia. Each training package contains the different qualifications that are available to address the skills and knowledge requirements within their respective industry sectors. Qualification documents are available from the national VET register at training.gov.au

Now, accessing these documents is as easy as visiting training.gov.au, finding the training package that represents the industry area you need, and selecting a qualification that suits your training needs. Inside the qualifications section of the training package document, you'll find the available qualifications listed in the order of their AQF level. 

Let's quickly break down the qualification code. Now just like units of competency, qualifications each have their own unique code to identify them but the information they tell us is a little bit different. Just like a unit code, the first three letters identify the training package that the qualification belongs to. For example, in the SIT10222 - Certificate I in Tourism Travel and Hospitality, the SIT part is the code given to the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality training package. 

  • The first number identifies the AQF level of the qualification, which in this case is AQF level 1 (Certificate I).
  • The next two numbers identify where the qualification is located in the list of qualifications with the same AQF level. In this example, it's the second level 1 qualification in the training package. 
  • And finally, the last two numbers identify the year the qualification was endorsed for use, in this case it would be 2022. 

Now let's take a look at the qualification document. There are three main sections that are important to understand when working with qualifications. These are the qualification description, the entry requirements and of course the all-important packaging rules. 

The Qualification Description

This gives an overview of the outcomes and potential job roles the qualification has been designed to achieve. The description also identifies if any specific legislation or licensing requirements may affect the delivery of the qualification. 

The Entry Requirements 

These identify any mandatory requirements that the learner must meet before they're allowed to commence the qualification. Now this may include things like having previously completed a specific qualification, or the need to hold a particular type of license.

The All-Important Packaging Rules 

These provide the instructions that guide the selection of units of competency that will be included in the qualification. Now, following the packaging rules ensures that the qualification is valid, and meets the intended job roles and skill objectives. 

The packaging rules identify two categories for the selection of units of competency in a qualification:

  1. 'Core Units' are mandatory units of competency included in the qualification. 
  2. 'Elective Units' are optional units. The packaging rules will allow some flexibility in the selection of these units within a qualification. 

Let's look at the packaging rules for the Certificate I in Hospitality. The packaging rules state that six units in total must be completed to achieve this qualification. 3 are core units and the remaining three are elective units, which can be selected while adhering to any additional instructions stated in the packaging rules. 

For the elective units, the rules state that one unit must be selected from the 'Group A' units listed below the packaging rules, and the other two can be selected from the 'Group B' units that are also listed in the document which cover a range of different hospitality related skills. 

Now if the units identified in 'Group B' are not suitable, the packaging rules in this instance also state that the remaining units may be selected from somewhere else in this same training package, or, from a different currently endorsed training package. As long as the units selected are suited to achieving the desired job outcome and are at a suitable AQF level. 

You may be asking yourself why bother with packaging rules at all why don't they just tell us what units need to be included in the qualification? 

Well firstly one size doesn't fit everyone, and one of the key features of the VET sector is 'client focus', so this means the qualifications need to be tailored to suit the different needs and outcomes of different individuals and organisations. This is called 'contextualisation'. The hospitality industry is a great example for explaining how the packaging rules and elective units allow for contextualisation. 

As we all know the hospitality industry has many potential job roles, from working in the kitchen to looking after guest rooms and the list goes on. Now, these different job roles require different skills. Here's an example of how the selection of elective units based on the packaging rules can be used to contextualise the same qualification to suit different job roles. 

Let's look at an entry-level 'Kitchen Hand' and an entry-level 'Bartender'. Both of these job roles require the 'Certificate I in Hospitality' as a starting point and both job outcomes require the same core units as these skills are considered mandatory for anyone working in the hospitality industry. 

The elective units here that have been selected for the kitchen hand clearly reflect skills needed in the kitchen, and it would be pointless to include these electives for bartenders because they don't reflect the skills required for that job role. So instead electives have been selected for the bartenders that are in the context of that specific job role. Now once the kitchen hand and the bartenders complete the course they will still each be awarded a valid 'Certificate I in Hospitality'. 

If a career as a trainer in Vocational Education is something you're interested in, contact one of our Course Advisors to see just how you can get started.

Images and Videos

No items found.
Get a free personalised Learning Plan and let us point you in the right direction.