Principles for guiding decision making on standalone units

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At the 22 June 2021 meeting, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) noted that differing interpretations of training package policy requirements have been applied in relation to standalone units in the national training system, creating confusion for Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) and Skills Service Organisations (SSOs).

Standalone units refer to units of competency that are not contained within a training package qualification at the time of endorsement. They may be added to a qualification at a later point in time.

The AISC agreed to a set of principles to guide decision-making in relation to standalone units. In order to address these concerns, the following principles have been agreed by the AISC to minimise instances of standalone units occurring, until the issue can be considered more comprehensively as part of the VET Reform agenda.

  • Standalone units are permissible in exceptional circumstances, including when the standalone unit is:   
    • responding to emerging or urgent skills needs not currently covered by a full qualification OR
    • specific to a single industry and training package and unlikely to be imported across training packages OR
    • designed to meet a specific regulatory, licencing or policy that requires a national standard of competency and/or there is no appropriate qualification relevant to the unit (e.g. provide responsible online wagering services unit) OR
    • accompanied by strong rationale for why the standalone unit is required (e.g. First Aid units of competency, which are cross-sectoral and generic in nature and are not specific to any single qualification).  
  • A clear justification must be provided by SSOs and IRCs for the proposed standalone unit, including evidence of industry need and support through the Case for Endorsement process. This should include evidence that the standalone unit will be embedded in a qualification at a later date wherever possible.

The AISC strongly encourages all IRCs and SSOs to take these principles into account when considering the inclusion of standalone units in training package projects going forward.