TAC Fact Sheet: Training Product Equivalence

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National Training Packages are one of the key pillars of Australia's vocational education and training (VET) system. Training Packages define:

  • occupational skills standards in units of competency against which training delivery and assessment of competency occur; and
  • the combination of units of competency, known as packaging rules, that must be achieved for an individual to be awarded a nationally recognised qualification, or skill set.

Training Packages are developed through a process of consultation with industry and key stakeholders nationally and may change over time as industry needs change. When a training package is changed, developers determine equivalence of units of competency and qualifications in accordance with the National Training Package Products Policy (TPPP). The TPPP is one of three documents that form the Training Package Organising Framework. The other two documents are the Standards for Training Packages and the Training Package Development and Endorsement Process Policy. All three documents can be accessed from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.


What does 'equivalence' mean for national training products?

The term equivalence is used in two contexts:

  • Units of competency; and
  • Qualifications.


Units of Competency

When a unit of competency is determined to be equivalent to the unit it supersedes, it means that the work outcome described by the two units of competency is unchanged. Training package developers determine equivalence by mapping the skills and knowledge (elements, performance criteria and assessment requirements) required to achieve the workplace outcomes of the new and superseded units. When the mapping of the two units align, the unit is determined as equivalent and when they do not align, the unit is determined as not equivalent.

When units are not equivalent specific detail of the changes are included in the unit mapping information located in the Companion Volume Implementation Guide.

Determination of equivalence may also be impacted by licensing, regulatory, legislative or certification requirements.


When a qualification is determined as equivalent to the qualification it supersedes, it means that the occupational outcome and/or AQF level described by the two qualifications is unchanged.

The occupational outcome is determined to have changed when the skills and knowledge required to achieve the occupational outcome of the new and superseded qualifications cannot be mapped to each other and therefore the qualifications are deemed not equivalent.

As with units of competency, determination of equivalence may also be impacted by licensing, regulatory, legislative or certification requirements. The detail of changes are included in the qualification mapping information located in the Companion Volume Implementation Guide. 


What should an RTO do when a new version of a Training Package is released?

Before implementing the new training product

A thorough review of the new version of the training product should be conducted even if qualifications or units of competency are deemed to be equivalent. Equivalence doesn't necessarily mean that there are no changes for training and assessments purposes. The review process should identify all changes to ensure these changes are implemented as part of the scope management process within the RTO.

Examples of changes that are typically required include:

  • changes to the structure of qualification/s;
  • changes to the way that the training and/or assessment must occur;
  • changes to the teaching and learning materials as well as assessment tools;
  • changes to what has to be included in the assessment; or
  • changes to the requirements for trainers and assessors.

In the example below from the CPC Training Package, the units in two versions of the training package were determined as equivalent. For this example, the focus is on the assessment requirements of the units.

It is clear there are substantial differences in the assessment evidence that is required by the two versions of the unit. For example, the earlier version of the unit requires students to carry out the full range of site supervision activities over a period of time, while the later version of the unit primarily requires evidence of the student planning to supervise administration activities. The current unit also specifies the type of site inspection and documentation required.

Although they are determined equivalent for workplace outcomes, the assessment tools would require review and updating in order to meet the requirements of Clause 1.1 (strategy). Many other aspects of the RTOs teaching and learning materials may also require adjustment given the differences between the units.  

The RTOs responsibilities

In the VET sector equivalence impacts a number of processes. The most common are:

  1. Training package transition - changing the RTOs Scope;
  2. Credit applications from an individual learner; and
  3. Determining the vocational competency of trainers and assessors. 


Training package transition - changing an RTOs scope                     

When a training package transition process occurs, it can change an RTOs scope of registration in regard to the units of competency, skill sets and/or qualifications.

Equivalent training products will be automatically added to an RTO's scope of registration without requiring an application or a fee. RTOs are able to continue to deliver the superseded product until ready to deliver the new equivalent product within the 12-month transition period. RTOs will need to add non-equivalent training products to scope by applying to TAC through the RTO Portal.

When a training product changes, the RTO must have a plan to ensure the transition process occurs in accordance with clauses 1.26 and 1.27 (transition) of the Standards for RTOs. The TAC Fact Sheet: Transition and Teach Out assists in interpreting these requirements.

When the new training product is added to an RTOs scope of registration, the RTO is obligated to ensure that they:

  • market the training product to potential students in an accurate and ethical manner;
  • have a strategy for the delivery and assessment of the training product suitable for the target learners;
  • have all training resources, equipment and facilities required to deliver and assess in accordance with the Training Package requirements and their strategy;
  • have support services available for the target learners when required;
  • assurance the strategy, resources, and practices for the training product are relevant for current industry practice;
  • have staff who are vocationally competent and industry current to deliver and assess the new training product;
  • have a plan for the validation of the new training product; and
  • have a plan for the transition of students from the old to new training product when required.

Each of these obligations involve some form of review that is based on a clear understanding of the differences between the new and superseded training product. The most common way for an RTO to determine the differences between training products is to conduct a mapping and consider the implications of the differences.

The First Aid units of competency from the Health Training Package have been recently updated. As an example, the unit HLTAID003 is superseded by HLTAID011. The First Aid Companion Volume provides the following information about the changes to the unit:


The training package developers determined the unit as not equivalent and highlight the areas of the unit of competency and assessment requirements that have changed. This information is a useful starting point for RTOs as it indicates areas of particular focus for the RTOs' mapping and comparison process.

The information on pages 6 – 9 of this Factsheet is an example of how an RTO could carry out mapping to determine what changes exist between the new and superseded unit and the impact on training and assessment. RTOs should use their mapping to determine what actions are required and a timeframe for these to be completed. The example only maps the unit elements and performance criteria. In practice, RTO's will also need to map the assessment requirements.  Following any changes made, the RTO must also ensure that the new assessment tools meet the requirements of Clause 1.8 (assessment) and any changes to learning materials meet the requirements of Clause 1.3 (resources).

As a result of this mapping, the RTO may need to make additional changes to the training and assessment strategy, for example, does the amount of training need to be adjusted, is there any additional information that should be provided to potential learners about the course the RTO is offering, or do the trainers and assessors need any gap training to enable them to deliver and assess the new units?


What are auditors looking for?

During an audit, the auditor requires evidence the RTO has established a process to identify the impact on the training and assessment operations of the RTO when units have been determined as equivalent or not equivalent. The auditor will seek evidence of the specific impacts identified, and the steps and actions the RTO has taken to ensure transition to the new training product meets all requirements of the Standards for RTOs.

Examples of mapping and transition plans. 

Highlighted areas indicate areas of difference.

Example 2.jpg

TAE50216 Diploma of Training Design and Development_ Equivalence Mapping

Example 3.jpg

Example 4.jpg

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Last modified: 16/01/2023 10:16 AM