Every year, an estimated four million Australians build and sharpen their skills by undertaking nationally recognised training. From 1 January 2015, all students undertaking a nationally recognised training need to have a Unique Student Identifier (USI). This includes students undertaking Vocational Education Training (VET) in schools.
A Unique Student Identifier (USI) is a reference number made up of numbers and letters.
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.
Please click here to watch USI video.
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 will contribute to 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 and other training organisations as proof of VET achievements.
- It will be easier for training organisations to assess students’ prerequisites, 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 which will be used to address poor quality training and achieve greater transparency within 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 upon course completion, 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 protection of your USI – and the personal and educational data that it links to – is paramount and important safeguards will be in place to protect your privacy. A key principle underpinning the initiative is that individuals will have control over their USI and can determine who can have access to the personal and educational records associated with it.
Under the USI initiative, a student’s USI must not be collected, used or disclosed by anyone other than the student for a purpose other than those set out in the legislation. There is also a requirement that anyone that has a record of your USI is to protect that record from misuse or unauthorised access.
Your privacy is further protected by the legislation requiring that any personal information collected by a training provider solely for the purpose of applying for the USI on your behalf is to be destroyed after the USI is obtained.
The USI will be stored by the Student Identifiers Registrar which is a statutory office established by the Student Identifiers Act 2014, along with some personal information about yourself, such as your name, date of birth and a way of contacting you, such as an email address.
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. The Registrar is also responsible for administering the USI scheme nationally.
The USI will also be held by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research in a separate database along with your training records. Your personal information and training record will be linked only when you request a transcript of your achievements using your USI, you authorise someone else to do so or otherwise in accordance with the legislation.
The Australian Information Commissioner will be the key regulator of the privacy and confidentiality aspects of the USI legislation and will have the capacity to investigate and impose a range of sanctions.
An individual can create a USI from October 2014. The USI must be provided to their training provider before the person can receive a statement of attainment or qualification post 1 January 2015.
Please click here to visit the USI Website to view more in detail.
If you have any questions or need more information, you can go to the USI website or contact the USI Office via their Contact Us Page.
Please click here to visit the USI Helpdesk page if you have specific questions about the Unique Student Identifier.