Why Do I need a USI ?

About the Unique Student Identifier (USI)

Every year, an estimated three million Australians build and sharpen their skills by undertaking nationally recognised training. From 1 January 2015, all students doing nationally recognised training need to have a Unique Student Identifier (USI). This includes students doing Vocational Education Training (VET) in schools.

A USI is a reference number made up of numbers and letters. Creating a USI is free. It creates a secure online record of your nationally recognised training that you can access anytime and anywhere, and it’s yours for life.

The USI is linked to the National Vocational Education and Training (VET) Data Collection, and this means an individual’s nationally recognised training and qualifications gained anywhere in Australia, from different training organisations, will be kept all together.

The USI will:
  • link a student’s VET achievements, regardless of where in Australia they did the course
  • let students easily access secure digital transcripts of their achievements (transcripts will be available from April 2016)
  • give students more control over their VET information.

Benefits of the USI initiative

The USI initiative will provide accurate, accessible training records to build data that will allow government to target the skills that industry needs to ensure the future prosperity of Australian businesses. It will become the building block for a range of VET reforms and will bring many advantages to students, training organisations and for the future of Australian industry.

For students and training organisations, the main benefits are:

  • Students will be able to get a complete record of their Australian-wide VET achievements from a single, secure and accurate online source.
  • There will be immediate access to VET records. This means they can be quickly given to employers, other training organisations etc as proof of VET achievements.
  • It will be easier for training organisations to assess students’ pre-requisites, credit transfers and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

For Australian industry and training organisations the USI information means:

  • less time in waiting for job applicants to confirm their nationally recognised training qualifications
  • sharing of training information will be made easier for training providers and for Australian businesses
  • smarter regulation that is evidence-based to address poor quality training and more transparency in the VET sector
  • greater efficiency in managing interactions with governments and regulators, simplifying government VET program eligibility and entitlement processing.
  • streamlined assessment of course prerequisites, credit transfers and the assessment of eligibility for funding assistance

Because the USI means capturing of longitudinal data on course completions, it will help to inform the development of future VET sector policy initiatives. The USI data will provide accurate and comprehensive information about students’ training achievements and movements within the VET system.

For governments, this means the USI will give a much clearer picture of how many students are in the VET system. It will show the length of time students undertake VET and the pathways students are taking through the system. The initiative will also assist governments with the management of their student entitlement programs.

Collecting and analysing information is essential to ensuring that the VET system can respond to students’ preferences and to the skills needs of industry and the Australian economy. The USI initiative will provide an important foundation for understanding and improving VET performance and for better meeting students’ needs.

The Student Identifiers Registrar and USI Office

The Student Identifiers Registrar is a statutory office established by the Student Identifiers Act 2014. The Registrar is responsible for administering the USI scheme nationally.

The Registrar is assisted by the USI Office which is located in the Department of Education and Training. The USI Office manages the USI Registry System which creates and stores the USIs.

Legislation

The USI Initiative is underpinned by the:

Consultation

The design of the USI initiative reflects a number of extensive consultation processes with VET students, VET providers (large and small, public/private and enterprise), peak bodies, industry skills councils and government policy-makers at the Commonwealth and State/Territory levels. There was also a public consultation process for the legislation early in 2013.

The legislation states that a training organisation must not issue a Statement of Attainment or a Qualification unless the student has been assigned a USI. These provisions are to be mirrored in the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations made under the NVR Act as well as the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).

The USI history

In April 2012, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the implementation of a specially designed tool called the USI to provide students with the ability to obtain a complete record of their VET enrolments and achievements from a single source.

The USI initiative has been developed jointly by the Australian and State and Territory governments in consultation with stakeholders. It is supported through Commonwealth legislation, including the Student Identifiers Bill 2014, the Student Identifiers Act 2014, and through a national Information Communication Technology (ICT) system.

For Mor information or to create a USI please log onto www.usi.gov.au 

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