DEEWR flags major failings in its National Training Information Service

Costly, innacurate, wasteful of resources resulting in a loss of experienced staff

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) is to overhaul its National Training Information Service (NTIS) system, following the identification of some major shortcomings.

In tender documents the DEEWR said that despite the NTIS system underpinning the day-to-day operation of the entire training sector, the system suffers from serious problems such as being costly to maintain and operate, consisting of inaccurate and incomplete information, and having processes which are error-prone and time-consuming.

“It does not provide access to the information it does hold in a manner that meets user and system needs, resulting in: wastage of resources, and loss of experienced staff, because people spend inordinate amounts of time accessing the information they need rather than doing their jobs (e.g. teaching),” the documents read.

“Accordingly, NTIS neither provides the sector with the support it needs to respond to the present challenges it faces, nor provides a foundation from which it can capitalise on future opportunities.”

Additionally, DEEWR said the current NTIS used a data model that did not reflect the different legislative and operational arrangement between regulators, creating the potential for users who do not understand these differences to use the information incorrectly.

It also resulted in attempts to capture information, such as audit information, that regulators are unable to provide.

“This can be irritating for the providers of the information who are regularly challenged about the apparent gaps in the information they supply, and confusing for users who do not understand why information that they may find quite useful is unavailable,” the documents read.

“Additionally, the current NTIS does not provide a reporting capability that reflects the needs of data providers to prepare reports on their activities and performance in a responsive and effective manner.”

DEEWR said that the shortcomings of the system were exacerbated by a number of challenges in the training sector such as responding to the impacts of the global recession, and avoiding the creation of a generation of long-term unemployed by engaging people with training.

“The sector’s ability to respond to these challenges, and to effect the necessary transformation, depends on the implementation of an effective approach to the management and distribution of key information,” the documents read.

“The [Council of Australian Governments] has stressed the importance that information systems will play in supporting a more demand and client driven system. These information systems must ensure that the very diverse range of different people that the sector touches get the information they need, at the time that they need it, in the form that they need it.”

The new system – Training.gov.au - currently out to tender, will seek to deliver a simplified national register of information about registered training organisations (RTO) and nationally recognised training products (NRT), a Training Package Content Management System (TPCMS) and a Public Interface to allow public access to the information in the system.

It will also seek to deliver an application through which authoring, endorsement, publication, storage and maintenance of training packages can occur in accordance with policies and practices established by the National Quality Council.

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