In April 2012, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to implement a specially designed tool called the USI to provide students with the ability to obtain a complete record of their VET enrolments and achievements from a single source.
The Australian and state and territory governments in consultation with stakeholders have developed the USI initiative jointly. It is supported through Commonwealth legislation, including the Student Identifiers Act 2014, and through a national Information Communication Technology (ICT) system.
The legislation states that a training organisation must not issue a statement of attainment or a qualification unless the student has been assigned a USI. These provisions are to be reflected in the Standards for National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) Registered Training Organisations made under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (NVR Act) as well as the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).
The design of the USI initiative reflects a number of extensive consultation processes with:
- Vocational Education Training (VET) students
- VET providers (large and small, public/private and enterprise)
- peak bodies
- industry skills councils
- government policy-makers at the Commonwealth and state and territory levels.
There was also a public consultation process for the legislation in early 2013.