How do I select an individual unit or accredited module to meet my client’s needs?

Once you have determined which training package and qualification to use, selecting the units of competency or accredited modules is merely a matter of reading through the information provided (also known as unpacking) and identifying the best match for your client. There maybe times; however, when you are not delivering a full qualification and you simply need a unit of competency (or two) to create a stand-alone session or a small course.

Knowing how to unpack a unit of competency can be a complex process. Understanding the national coding system and the codes associated with all VET competencies and qualifications will help you to determine the correct unit and qualification level for your learners.

What is the national coding system for training packages?

The national coding system was developed to give each training package, unit of competency and qualification a unique, nationally consistent identifier. It is a key factor in administering VET across the states and territories, and across industries

What are ‘prerequisites’ and ‘licensing’ requirements?

Pre-requisites and licensing requirements (also referred to as ‘entry requirements’) are requirements that must be held prior to starting a qualification. There are two examples provided below which shows entry requirements.

What are qualification rules?

Each qualification within a training package has been designed to align with industry standards at a particular performance level. Careful consideration is given to grouping competencies in a training package which have similar meaning and purpose related to work functions.

The qualification rules provide information about any guidelines or restrictions which might apply to the way that you group individual competencies from a training package into a course or learning program. Qualification rules also determine how many and which units must be completed for a qualification. For example some qualifications may be made up of core units only while others are made up of core units and elective units.

What are core and elective units?

Core units are units which are compulsory to complete as part of the qualification. Elective units are units which can be chosen by the client, student or an RTO; however, they must be chosen in line with the qualification rules and in keeping with the learning ideals or requirements of the learning program, for example – enrolling in Cert IV TAE  – a student has to complete 7 core units and 2 elective of his/her choice.


Using the qualification Nathan is considering for Shari and her staff as an example, let us look at the qualification rules:

if you were determining if this was the correct qualification for your client, you need to read through the qualification rules, look at all the units (both core and the choice of electives) and consider if these meet the learning program requirements and the individual needs of your learners.

You also need to consider if your learners conduct work and tasks in their workplace which align with the relevant competencies from the units contained within the qualification you have selected.

Shari’s initial reason for training was for ‘time management’ training. If you look through the elective units there are a number which address this requirement, these include:

  • BSBADM307B Organise schedules
  • BSBINM301A Organise workplace information
  • BSBWOR301B Organise personal work priorities and development


Finding qualification notes

It is important to familiarise yourself with locating qualification notes via the TGA website ( )

The best place to start is to determine the qualification level which your learners need to complete. Summaries of the learning outcome characteristics and their distinguishing features for each VET related AQF qualification can be located in each training package listed on the TGA website.

These are listed under the ‘Table of Contents’ under the ‘Qualification Framework’ heading.

The following are the characteristics of a Certificate I, II and III for the Business Services training package. Read through these levels and compare their differences:

Certificate I
Characteristics of Learning Outcomes

Breadth, depth and complexity of knowledge and skills would prepare a person to perform a defined range of activities most of which may be routine and predictable.

Applications may include a variety of employment related skills including preparatory access and participation skills, broad-based induction skills and/or specific workplace skills. They may also include participation in a team or work group.

Distinguishing Features of Learning Outcomes

Do the competencies enable an individual with this qualification to:

·     Demonstrate knowledge by recall in a narrow range of areas?

·     Demonstrate basic practical skills, such as the use of relevant tools?

·     Perform a sequence of routine tasks given clear direction?

·     Receive and pass on messages and information?

Certificate II
Characteristics of Learning Outcomes

Breadth, depth and complexity of knowledge and skills would prepare a person to perform in a range of varied activities or knowledge application where there is a clearly defined range of contexts in which the choice of actions required is usually clear and there is limited complexity in the range of operations to be applied.

Performance of a prescribed range of functions involving known routines and procedures and some accountability for the quality of outcomes.

Applications may include some complex or non-routine activities involving individual responsibility or autonomy and/or collaboration with others as part of a group or team.

Distinguishing Features of Learning Outcomes

Do the competencies enable an individual with this qualification to:

·     Demonstrate basic operational knowledge in a moderate range of areas?

·     Apply a defined range of skills?

·     Apply known solutions to a limited range of predictable problems?

·     Perform a range of tasks where choice between a limited range of options is required?

·     Assess and record information from varied sources?

·     Take limited responsibility for own outputs in work and learning?

Certificate III
Characteristics of Learning Outcomes

Breadth, depth and complexity of knowledge and competencies would cover selecting, adapting and transferring skills and knowledge to new environments and providing technical advice and some leadership in resolution of specified problems. This would be applied across a range of roles in a variety of contexts with some complexity in the extent and choice of options available.

Performance of a defined range of skilled operations, usually within a range of broader related activities involving known routines, methods and procedures, where some discretion and judgement is required in the section of equipment, services or contingency measures and within known time constraints.

Applications may involve some responsibility for others. Participation in teams including group or team co-ordination may be involved.

Distinguishing Features of Learning Outcomes

Do the competencies enable an individual with this qualification to:

·     Demonstrate some relevant theoretical knowledge?

·     Apply a range of well-developed skills?

·     Apply known solutions to a variety of predictable problems?

·     Perform processes that require a range of well-developed skills where some discretion and judgement is required?

·     Interpret available information, using discretion and judgement?

·     Take responsibility for own outputs in work and learning?

·     Take limited responsibility for the output of others?


After you have determined the qualification level, the next step is to choose the qualification itself. Choose the qualification, based on the title description, and read through the preliminary information under the ‘qualification notes’. Certificate IV, like this one – is a totally different story, and requires different qualifications.


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