4 out of 5 people don’t pass their initial registration audit when doing it all themselves, here’s how to avoid being one of them.

Tips to become a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)  and have the auditors love your submission.

When you decide to become an RTO there is allot for you to consider. RTO set up is no longer an easy process where you decide to have an RTO, apply the next day, become registered in a few months, and start your business. It takes months of planning, and hard work to get everything ready. It is an investment in your future. This blog takes you through some of the best tips in the current RTO landscape.

Understanding your initial registration regulators

Business Coach RTO Coach and mentor

ASQA is the major regulator across Australia.  ASQA handles RTOs delivering courses in most states and territories, Australia-wide, online, and the CRICOS courses that cater to international students.

The Training Accreditation Council (TAC) regulate RTOs based and delivering in Western Australia or Victoria.

The RTO set up at both ASQA and TAC is to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. They both have lots of information on their respective websites. This blog is focusing on the ASQA and TAC registration requirement.

The Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA) regulate RTOs based in Victoria or WA. So it depends on the location of the RTO office with these two states. The VRQA work to the original RTO Standards – the AQTF, again they have a wealth of information on their website.

Do your research

It is highly recommended you research the respective regulators website to understand what they require and specifically the VET Quality Framework:

  • the Fit and Proper Person Requirements,
  • the Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements,
  • the Data Provision Requirements,
  • the Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • And any preregistration requirements they might have

Understanding your obligations under the Standards for RTOs 2015 (or other relevant state regulations) and the VET Quality Framework is a critical first step in becoming an RTO.

Financial Viability Requirements to Become an RTO

Both ASQA and TAC both require you to meet financial viability risk assessment for initial registration.  Each has developed information and guidelines to provide you with guidance on the type of information that may be requested from training providers in order to make a determination on their financial viability.​ These forms are found on the pages I have linked above.

To enable you to demonstrate to the regulator that you do meet the financial viability requirements, you will need to prepare your RTO business plan, a detailed financial forecast (using the tools required). For ASQA, you will need to provide your financial history and projections.

The information you supply in this tool helps them to assess:

  • whether you meet the specifications of the Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements 2011
  • the likelihood of your business continuity to ensure students can finish their training with your RTO;
  • your capacity to make purchases, pay bills, and achieve quality outcomes for your students.


The business plan for RTO set up

The process of competing your business plan allows you to really look at all the internal and external influences, drivers, and strategies that will ensure you start an RTO that is likely to be successful. It is a useful document and business planning offers serious benefits for everybody in business.

An RTO is no different to any other small business in that you need to focus on what makes you unique, your special identity, your target markets, and the products and training services that will be tailored to match. This is essential planning that allows your business to get off the ground once registered.

Good planning sets expectations showing the Regulator that you have properly planned and considered your new RTO’s goals and have steps on how to get there. As a business owner it is a tool for regular review of what’s expected and what happened your expectations, and results. Allowing you

When working with Merinda and RTO Mentor you are provided a template for the Business plan. It has been adapted specifically for RTOs, and from Merinda’s business experience and training.

Training and Assessment Resources for Initial registration

The next area to consider are where are all of your training and assessment resources coming from?

There are 3 ways you can approach this:

  1. Develop them all yourself  
  2. Buy them from a reputable source and validate them
  3. Jump right in before you’ve contracted a consultant and buy the cheapest

Personally I’ve seen too many examples of point 3 and wasted money from the purchaser. Please speak to others (not the provider of the materials) before you buy anything. There are so many promises out there of compliance, meeting audits etc, yet it is not always the case. RTO material is something that needs to be strongly considered, as it is the many reason for non-compliance.  The most common non-compliance comes under Standard 1.8, for practical assessment and collecting performance evidence.


Look at the (ASQA) Users Guide for Training and assessment.  

Having compliant, training and assessment resources that meet the Standards is critical for your RTO application’s success, and will be a major focus of ASQA’s initial registration audit.

When you apply you MUST have all training and assessment resources required for every course and training product you intend to deliver upon successful registration before lodging your new RTO application.

Working with an RTO consultant for Initial registration

RTO Consultant RTO Mentor

Take advantage of our 30 minute consult

Find out how Merinda can assist you with your RTO initial registration TODAY

When working with a consultant who has worked in industry, and managed RTOs, they will be able to assist you with the development of your systems.

The first is which consultancy to use, or if you can do it yourself. Finding the right consultant is crucial to the success of your RTO project. When conducting your research before making such a decision you need to interview people.

Then you need to decide who is best for you. Consider the following in your decision:


Does the consultant put the best interest of you, the client ahead of their own?

  • Are they easy to talk to, and have an ability to explain complicated scenarios simply? One clue that someone doesn’t understand a problem is that they need a large number of variables and factors to explain it.
  • Check the reviews of the business and ask your peers and your network if they know of their work.
  • Have they shown the ability to be a creative problem solver? After all, you are hiring a consultant to help you solve problems and take advantage of opportunities.

A good consultant should have experience with running RTOs (hopefully managing them). She or he may not know your specific industry, but you and your people know your industry well, don’t you?  What the consultant brings to the table is experience in addressing the issues in setting up an RTO.

Learn more about Merinda, and how she works here.

RTO set-up Tools

RTO Mentor has a range of online tools to support your RTO registration. Find out here.
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WE DID IT!!!! ITS OFFICIAL!!! Cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work and assistance !!!!! Now the hard work starts 😊 I might have a few questions to ask you on what I do from here!! I am currently overseas so will speak to you next week!! IM SO EXCITED!!!!
BrendanRTO Director
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We were one of those groups who tried to do the initial registration ourselves. We didn’t do it well. We had a huge report of non-compliances. Then I found Merinda and she helped us gain clarity and direction. Now we are an RTO. Thanks so much for everything Merinda.
John Vos
John VosManager RTO
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Setting up a fully-compliant best-practice RTO is not an easy undertaking - and as a remote, Indigenous-focused RTO we were expecting our first audit to be a complicated process. Luckily we were refereed to Merinda Smith and F4 solutions, and thanks to her efforts our first year audit was entirely without any queries.
PatRTO Director
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Yea Merinda Just cracking a bottle of Champers. Thanks for your help, much appreciated. Regards Pat (ASQA RTO) Came to us when needed help with undertsadning the complexities of the business
Suzanne ASQA RTO Director
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Merinda is excellent to work with Merinda was able to guide us through our ASQA audit where we passed with no non-compliance’s. Merinda is excellent to work with and fit into our tea really well. I would recommend Merinda to other RTO’s.
Ansam and Saad
Ansam and SaadNSW RTO
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You have a way of getting the message across Thank you for your time with us in Sydney. We both enjoyed your coaching model and how you managed to explain the RTO Standards that made total sense for us. We are both very excited to implement your suggestions.
MeganCompliance Manager
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RTO Mentor has been instrumental in assisting me with all aspects of RTO compliance and the application process. I have found Merinda's knowledge to be extremely valuable and everything has been delivered methodically, efficiently and in easy to understand terms. I find that Merinda can point out any issues or downfalls along with a solution to address them in a way that improves the process and my knowledge. All in all, I've found working with RTO Mentor to be exceptionally easy, helpful and productive.
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Very approachable and found her consultations were very useful I was looking for an RTO consultant and found RTO Mentor. Merinda was very approachable and found her consultations were very useful and I gained a lot of knowledge from her. I passed audit following her visits. Thanks Belinda (ASQA RTO)

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