Technical and Further Education and Registered Training Organization

The various state-administered institutes of technical and further education (TAFE) across the country are the major providers of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. TAFE institutions generally offer short courses, Certificates I, II, III, and IV, diplomas, and advanced diplomas in a wide range of vocational topics. They also sometimes offer higher education courses, especially in Victoria.

In addition to TAFE institutes there are many registered training organisations (RTOs) which are privately operated. In Victoria alone there are approximately 1100. They include:
commercial training providers
the training department of manufacturing or service enterprises
the training function of employer or employee organizations in a particular industry
Group training companies
community learning centers and neighborhood houses
secondary colleges providing VET programs

In size these RTOs vary from single-person operations delivering training and assessment in a narrow specialization, to large organizations offering a wide range of programs. Many of them receive government funding to deliver programs to apprentices or trainees, to disadvantaged groups, or in fields which governments see as priority areas.

VET programs delivered by TAFE institutes and private RTOs are based on nationally registered qualifications, derived from either endorsed sets of competency standards known as training packages, or from courses accredited by state/territory government authorities. These qualifications are regularly reviewed and updated. In specialised areas where no publicly owned qualifications exist, an RTO may develop its own course and have it accredited as a privately owned program, subject to the same rules as those that are publicly owned.

All trainers and assessors delivering VET programs are required to hold a qualification known as the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA40104) or the more current TAE40110, or demonstrate equivalent competency. They are also required to have relevant vocational competencies, at least to the level being delivered or assessed. All TAFE institutes and private RTOs are required to maintain compliance with a set of national standards called the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF), and this compliance is monitored by regular internal and external audits.