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In 2014, the Commonwealth Government passed the Student Identifiers Act 2014. A Unique Student Identifier (USI) is a reference number made up of numbers and letters that gives students access to their USI account.
A USI will allow an individual's USI account to be linked to the National Vocational Education and Training (VET) Data Collection, allowing an individual to see all of their training results from all providers, including all completed training units and qualifications. (Please note this legislative change applies to all RTO’s for recording Nationally Recognised Training only.)
The USI will make it easier for students to find, collate and authenticate their VET achievements into a single transcript. It will also ensure that students' VET records are not lost.
The USI will be available online and at no cost to the student. This USI will stay with the student for life and be recorded with any nationally recognised VET course that is undertaken from when the USI comes into effect.
Benefits of the USI
This system will have a number of benefits for students. Currently, it is not possible for students to obtain a complete record of their VET enrolments and achievements from a single online source.
This is inconvenient not only for students and employers, but can also make it more difficult for training organisations to assess pre-requisites, credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Incomplete data about access to and use of the VET sector also inhibits the development of evidence-based VET programs.
There will be significant benefits for training organisations resulting from the introduction of the USI. For example, the USI initiative will enable students to provide training providers with access to an online authenticated record of student attainment. This will assist with the recording of enrolment details and will help to streamline the assessment of course prerequisites, credit transfer and the assessment of eligibility for funding assistance.
In the longer term, training organisations will benefit from longitudinal data on course completions which will inform the development of future VET sector policy initiatives
.For governments, the unidentified unit record level information which will be available following the introduction of the USI, will give a much clearer picture of how many students are in the VET system and for what length of time, and the pathways students are taking through the system. The initiative will also assist governments with the management of their student entitlement programs (funding).
With an estimated three million enrolments in the VET system each year, 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 economy. The new initiative will provide an important foundation for understanding and improving VET performance and for better meeting students' needs.
For more information, or to apply, visit the Australian Government Department of Industry website.