The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training
The AQF links education and the labour market
The AQF sets the standards for Australia’s qualifications
The AQF is a flexible, contemporary framework of Australia’s qualifications
The AQF is Australia’s National Qualifications Framework
The AQF builds confidence in qualifications
The AQF supports the development of pathways to assist people to move easily through education and training and work
The AQF supports lifelong learning
The AQF underpins regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for education and training
The AQF supports national and international mobility of graduates and workers
The AQF enables comparability of Australian and international qualifications
AQF qualifications are the currency of the labour market

What is the AQF?  

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The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) establishes the quality of Australian qualifications.

The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. It incorporates the quality assured qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework.

The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools. The background to the AQF is documented here.

The many AQF stakeholders include industry and its representative bodies, unions, professional associations and licensing authorities and governments. Ultimately students, graduate and employers, both Australian and international, benefit from the quality qualifications that are built on the requirements of the AQF.

In Australia, education and training is a shared responsibility of all Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. Education, training and employment ministers collectively own and are responsible for the AQF.

The AQF provides the standards for Australian qualifications. It is an integrated policy that comprises:

  • The learning outcomes for each AQF level and qualification type
  • The specifications for the application of the AQF in the accreditation and development of qualifications
  • The policy requirements for issuing AQF qualifications
  • The policy requirements for qualification linkages and student pathways
  • The policy requirements for the registers of:
    -  organisations authorised to accredit AQF qualifications
    -  organisations authorised to issue AQF qualifications
    -  AQF qualifications and qualification pathways
  • The policy requirements for the addition or removal of qualification types in the AQF, and
  • The definitions of the terminology used in the policy.

The organising framework for the AQF is a taxonomic structure of levels and qualification types each of which is defined by a taxonomy of learning outcomes. The taxonomic approach is designed to enable consistency in the way in which qualifications are described as well as clarity about the differences and relationships between qualification types.

One of the key objectives of the Australian Qualifications Framework is to facilitate pathways to, and through, formal qualifications.

AQF qualifications link with each other in a range of learning pathways between schools, VET and higher education and education and work as an individual’s learning and career ambitions require. The AQF provides for flexible, transparent and systematic learning pathways and to the removal of boundaries between educational sectors.

Verification of AQF qualifications and the organisations authorised to issue them is through the AQF Register.

 

Objectives of the AQF

The objectives of the AQF are to provide a contemporary and flexible framework that:

  • accommodates the diversity of purposes of Australian education and training now and into the future
  • contributes to national economic performance by supporting contemporary, relevant and nationally consistent qualification outcomes which build confidence in qualifications
  • supports the development and maintenance of pathways which provide access to qualifications and assist people to move easily and readily between different education and training sectors and between those sectors and the labour market
  • supports individuals’ lifelong learning goals by providing the basis for individuals to progress through education and training and gain recognition for their prior learning and experiences
  • underpins national regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for education and training
  • supports and enhances the national and international mobility of graduates and workers through increased recognition of the value and comparability of Australian qualifications
  • enables the alignment of the AQF with international qualifications frameworks