Australian GDN Network Delegation 2024

Australian GDN Network Delegation 2024: A Case Study

May 2024

This compendium represents a high level summary of the GDN Network delegation’s visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in May 2024.

In May 2024, the GDN Network sent a delegation to Australia to deepen its regional work.The overarching goal was to explore and understand the challenges and opportunities for transnational mobility and digitization in the region as part of the GDN’s Asia Pacific efforts. 

Australia serves as a significant exemplar given its community of passionate thought leaders seeking to advance a skills dialogue and various research and capabilities to address important challenges negatively impacting learner mobility and access.

The delegation came away with a stronger appreciation of the complexities that underlie what it would take to help the Australian region move the needle and coalesce around a plan of action for change. From a GDN perspective, our overriding belief which drove the motivations for our regional listening tour, is that you cannot create transformative change for international mobility of learners without first clearly understanding the local context and needs facing educators, policy leaders, government and industry partners in a particular region.

In some ways, there were validating moments. The themes we see elsewhere were readily apparent in Australia, signalling a convergence opportunity for at minimum dialogue and at the highest level, compelling indicators that the GDN can help Australia achieve its goals for mobility.

Propelling cross border projects

The expertise of the community of GDN thought giants could help propel cross border projects focused on advancing attention on skills migration and mobility. The principles to guide the change and the governance and practical execution needs are similar to other transnational and national projects the GDN community has dealt with before. These findings serve as a signal for intentional and future collaborative action between the GDN and organizations and government in Australia.

Skills Gap – Trades

Like many countries, the Australian community is seeing a need for expertise and workers to support specific trades gaps. Their population is not replacing itself, a practical demographic trend evident in other countries. The imperative for finding skilled labour to support continued economic sustainability and growth is clearly evident.

This forces greater attention on identifying new or leveraging existing capacities to rapidly recognize, assess, upskill and deploy skilled trades workers from other countries into the economy. VetAssess and their model for assessment serves as an exemplar in this space. The clarity of understanding regarding the imperative for this effort is strongly evident in Australia.

Skills Gap – Professions

Regularized professions particularly in health care remain challenges worldwide. Australia also wrestles with this and is carefully considering standards and business requirements for the aspirations for the new National Skills Passport consultation process. As with any region, an opportunity exists to identify progressive paths forward including government policy and funding levers to address the challenge. Again, assessing and recognizing skills is not easy to do but if a region is to rapidly scale up in fields that are highly specialized, it absolutely would benefit from examining explored practices and policies in other countries to identify exemplars.


There’s also the option to tap into ready made workforces in other regions by ramping up skills based and academics recognition assessment policies and practices. This requires removing friction in a few identifiable areas, all of which are conversations evident in Australian.

Organizations exist in each of the Australian states that have staff experts in skills based assessment for workforce placement such as VetAssess. These personnel can assess and identify skills capabilities for new migrants and refugees across hundreds of professions to advance rapid access to the workforce and further training.

Structural divide between sectors and levels of education

The Australian context includes a strong divide between the sectors, a long standing reality that is proving unsustainable in the new economy. The systematic barriers between universities (referenced as “higher education”), the VET sector such as the TAFEs (referenced in other countries as colleges, polytechnics and trades education providers), and the private providers are resulting in candid conversations locally and with government. It’s a known challenge and one which the communities in the region are actively reflecting on to determine ways to overcome these systemic divides to support overall lifelong learning and economic objectives.

Mobility data gap

Natural cross sector mobility is a fairly typical phenomena evident in other regions and is likely occurring in Australia, however, an evidence gap exists. The Australian communities we spoke with identified the growing adoption and importance of the Unique Student Identifier (USI) which is anticipated to help provide the beginning mechanism to close this gap while also candidly noting that the dearth of evidence remains an area of focus. It is a generally understood fact that having clear, trusted data is a critical enabler to ensuring a shared understanding of the actual mobility of learners between sectors. This would in turn present convergence opportunities for dialogue, policy and practice improvements to support lifelong learning.

Learners go from vocational training settings and pathway into universities, and they also go from universities to vocational training to get practical job like exposure and training. Instead of structurally opaque systems, there’s evidence around the world of more organic set ups that enable learners to drive their learning experiences unfettered by narrowly defined and rigid constructs. We applaud the Australian community for their recognition of the importance of a greater focus on data to inform discussions in this space.

Support for learners through unique system level bursary models

The Tertiary Admission Centres, as demonstrated by VTAC (the Victorian TAC) in the meeting with the delegation stand as an exemplar for their work to create a frictionless mechanism to delivery bursary supports for learners. Their model provides a universal state level application for learners to ‘tell their story once’ when seeking additional funding for studies. This is not driven through a government owned financial aid model but instead has emerged through a shared infrastructure offered by the TACs that is essentially led by the schools themselves.

It is a common and unfortunate practice for institutions around the world to believe themselves so unique that they create separate, stand-alone and organizationally focused applications for bursary support for studies at the postsecondary level. The practical impact on learners is easy to see. For example, having to tell your story repeatedly and through different online or paper based application constructs is at best a fragmented experience, and at worst, not learner focused or considerate. Replaying your story to justify funding is triggering and completing all these different forms is overwhelming for learners with limited time and resources. Creating shared digital solutions to streamline this experience represents a critical opprtunity that deserves prioritized attention if postsecondary institutions are truly dedicated to advancing policies and initiatives through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Holistic competency based learning models and the implications for regional digital data and credential portability

Like many regions, Australian communities are carefully considering new ways of recognizing informal learning or articulating achieved competencies and skills through new experimental frameworks. As an example, we learned from our listening tour that these new ways of recognizing learning beyond the secondary school transcript are resulting in a diversity of competency frameworks and visual representations of the outcomes of learning. Through this work, important questions are being considered such as considering how these new methods will complement or, potentially, replace secondary school transcripts and what will they mean for currently very streamlined digital supports provided by the centralized admission centres like VTAC and UAC.

The current use of what is called the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), a complex mathematically based ranking system that is core to postsecondary admissions (or not depending on who you speak with) and the approach of offering postsecondary admission on the same day, demonstrates the regional efforts to find coherent and sure methods for scalable delivery of offers to further study. The digital infrastructure behind these practices supports an incredibly complex and nuanced methodology for ensuring consistency and coherence in the postsecondary offer process.

This very real context begs questions such as how will these new efforts to recognize learning differently scale into existing, well entrenched admission assessment and delivery models? What might be an overarching set of digital principles and strategy to enable these innovations to be delivered at scale? Is the seeming diversity okay? What is the role of government in regulating or funding future work in this area, if any? What are the implications for learner data portability? How does all this square with desired outcomes for building a skilled workforce and learning economy? We had more questions than answers through all of this but were impressed by the considerable effort being expended to explore creative models to recognize, curate and share learning achievements at all levels of the education ecosystem.

Manual assessment practice and trust in digital solutions

Like in many other jurisdictions, evidence exists of the continued reliance of postsecondary credential evaluators on hand review of documents versus reliance on receiving and fully accepting digital credentials that emerge through trusted digital channels like My eQuals. While not universally true in every pocket of the region, it is an evident barrier that is likely having a significant impact on learner mobility, quality, and speed of service. On a related note, there’s another related challenge – keeping institutions and credential evaluations abreast of which digital credential highways are to be trusted.

We also learned of the challenges the community faces to remain current regarding curriculum and credential changes in other jurisdictions or to comfortably interrogate the diversity of findings regarding credential qualities and levels sometimes from the same regions. These tensions are not unique to Australia and remain common recognition challenges worldwide.

There is a strong place for the GDN Network to help the Australian community with closing some of these trust gaps and helping to bring confidence about adopting digital options in the recognition and assessment process, a recognized imperative of the Conventions.

Building on existing strengths

We spoke with VetAssess, a long standing GDN signatory and were astounded to learn that they have skills assessment capabilities across 350 trades and professions. While we did not have a chance to speak to their counterparts in other states, the same is likely true for each of them.

The opportunity to lever that expansive knowledge and expertise to create a skills based recognition system at scale that is interoperable across other policy, practical and technology contexts is worth exploring further.

There is an opportunity for the GDN to more actively collaborate with these skills assessment bodies to see what kind of cross border connections might be possible, particularly given the GDNs interest in enabling mobility for migrants and refugees. In particular, the document gap for refugees means an interesting opportunity to leverage the assessment and credential outcomes from these organizations to advance access to further studies and/or work levering digital capabilities, such as through My eQuals and Verifiable Credential solutions.

Creating stronger ties with industry to advance system integrity

The GDN was honoured to sign the Business NSW as its latest new signatory. They are an alliance of 200 chambers of commerce across New South Wales and serve as the advocacy group and catalyst voice for change with parliament from companies across the region. They are the first chamber organization to join the GDN from across the world and we look forward to more following suit.

Achieving full learner mobility across the entire life cycle must include participation from industry so we applaud Business NSW for aligning to a broader purpose and aspiration for learner mobility.

Of great relevance to the credential and digital ecosystem, there is significant work to be done to ensure businesses are ready for new technology and committed to advancing integrity in the credential verification ecosystem. In our considerable experience, assumptions are made regarding the capacities of business to consume (or even be interested in) verifiable credentials. While strong evidence exists in the highly regulated professions and trades of specified skills that are needed, at a level up across skills array or competencies, concurrence and clarity on what employers need, want and can digest in the form of digital and credential evidence does not fully exist in Australia. Again, not remotely unusual as we see this the world over. That the themes are evident in this region presents opportunities for the GDN to help the learning communities with tightening intentional ties to business to help build yet another bridge. Businesses need results and are equally concerned about ensuring overall integrity in the hiring system so the return in effort to ensure a focus on digital solutions that cross from the learning ecosystem to the workplace remain important for all.

Concluding Thoughts

Australia is a wonderfully complex education system with passionate educators, partners and policy makers seeking to affect significant change in the digital policy and practice space. The GDN extends its thanks to HES, My eQuals and its industry partner, Parchment, an Instructure company, for allowing the GDN delegation to participate in and contribute to its showcase event day. We thank the close to 40 people who graciously lent the delegation time in their day to both educate us on the Australian education ecosystem and blue sky with us on possible ways to deepen international collaboration.

Thank you in behalf of the GDN delegation and the board.

Joanne Duklas

Executive Director

The GDN Network

Members of the Delegation

    • Anthony Manahan, Board Secretary, The GDN Network; Director Student Mobility, Higher Education Services, Australia
    • Jelger de Boer, President, The GDN Network; Account manager Registers, DUO, Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs, The Netherlands
    • Joanne Duklas, Executive Director, The GDN Network; co-founder, Canada’s MyCreds; former president of Canada’s national registrar’s association (ARUCC)
    • Chen Wenjun. Assistant Manager, International Promotion Department, CSSD, Center for Student Services and Development, Ministry of Education, P.R. China
    • Yuan Weiping, Manager of International Promotion Department, Center for Student Services and Development, Ministry of Education, P.R. China
    • Kevin Martin, Patron, GDN Network; EdTech Accelerator Mentor; Vice President, Parchment Growth
    • Simone Ravaoili, Member, GDN Network Strategic Advisory Council; Co-Chair, Verifiable Credentials Education Task Force (W3C VC EDU); Director, Global Ecosystem & Innovation, Instructure


Business NSW seeks to better the business environment for all businesses by offering various supports to its 100,000+ member businesses. Quarterly member surveys, private meetings, and advice lines are available to ensure that the concerns and challenges faced by all its members are heard and can then influence policy solutions written by their team of experts to be brought to all levels of government. Business NSW offers networking opportunities, training, and a wealth of resources and toolkits to its members. Business NSW connects industry and universities via internships and forums, providing opportunities for students as well as for the betterment of enterprise statewide by connecting industry members to university research bodies. In the face of a lack of skilled workers in NSW and rising youth unemployment rates, Business NSW seeks to increase youth employment rates and prepare the next generation of skilled workers for the coming influx of investments into infrastructure by supporting effective school to work programs, improving transitions to employment for youth from various pathways, and developing curriculum and training packages for skilled trades. Business NSW aims to improve the business environment wholistically by improving infrastructure, such as transit systems and roadways, workplace health and safety, and workplace relations, as well as identifying areas that are integral to the economic growth and success of the NSW area. Tourism is a major contributor to the NSW economy, and the Tourism Industry Council, powered by Business NSW, supports businesses in maximizing their potential to ensure that NSW remains a top tourist destination.

The Universities Admissions Centre processes applications of admissions from undergraduate programs at participating institutions, primarily in NSW and ACT. In 2022, UAC launched their complete verifiable credentials platform CredNet, which allows students to securely access and share their ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) and other credentials regardless of where they are through their CredFolio digital wallets. Badges, microcredentials, and professional certifications are all also supported as verifiable credentials on CredNet. The process of recognition of a student’s prior learning is often lengthy and complicated, and UAC has taken steps to combat this by implementing their credit management and services platform, Advance, which offers automation of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. With UAC’s centralized admissions service, students access the UAC admissions portal directly from the UAC website, and their application process is automatically started. Bespoke admissions allow institutions to fully customize the application process for their students in keeping with their brand specifications while taking full advantage of UAC’s powerful backend systems. UAC also offers Tertiary Admissions Assessment, which is a complete applications process carried out by UAC, beginning with automated pre-checks of applications, and ending with in-house assessments by their expert staff in adherence with the institution’s unique admissions criteria/process. Admissions data is a powerful tool in informing an institution’s decisions concerning marketing, recruitment, and retention. UAC provides data dashboards that capture admissions data and produce a high-level visual report displaying trends and providing valuable insights into the demographics, number, and course preferences associated with an institution’s admissions data. UAC also offers several marketing services, including SMS campaigns, UAC website advertising, sponsored newsletters, and print advertising. UAC is also involved in government projects, such as Microcred Seeker and Course Seeker, aimed at improving student’s experience in understanding and accessing education.

The Bean Centre was founded in 2021 by Professor Martin Bean, who is currently a professor at the University of New South Wales. The Bean Centre partners with leading credentialing platforms to build custom badging programs for institutions/issuers. The Bean Centre’s Global Collaboration Hub connects educational institutions with educational initiatives and thought leaders, including Canvas, Open Skills Network, Educational Design Lab, ASU Information Security and Digital Trust, Microcredential Multiverse, and Credential Engine. The Bean Centre also provides strategic advice to institutions in the private and public sectors.

TAFE (Technical and Further Education) Directors Australia is a not-for-profit organization representing a network of 29 TAFE institutions across Australia. TDA supports high quality VET (vocational education and training) by advocating for TAFE institutions, facilitating connections between TAFEs and their many influential industry partners – including Adobe, Amazon Web Services, and My eQuals – and conducting collaborative practice-based research. A Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) is a not-for-profit government funded organization that is industry owned and industry led. JSCs engage directly with industry stakeholders, including employers, unions, and RTOs. There are 10 such councils representing the various sectors of the skilled trades industry in Australia. TDA coordinates engagement and collaboration between the JSCs by connecting industry leaders with TAFEs. This collaboration between education providers, industry partners and other stakeholders is crucial to the further development of VET. TDA advocates for its members by making regular policy submissions on their behalf to various branches of the Australian government. The TDA is also regularly commissioned to leverage their extensive network to conduct research reports that inform policy decisions and contribute to the overall betterment of the VET sector.

VETASSESS is Australia’s largest skills assessment service, authorized by the Australian government to assess more qualifications than any other organization. VETASSESS’s Skills Assessment for Skilled Migration to Australia facilitates employment opportunities for new skilled migrants by providing assessment for 360+ professional and 27 trades professions eligible for skilled migration to Australia. For those already in Australia, the Skills Assessment for Non-Migration offers assessment and formal recognition of skills to improve chances of employment. Businesses in Australia that perform their own assessments may benefit from VETASSES’s Assessment Peer Review, where VETASSESS experts work with businesses to ensure their assessment practices adhere to industry standards. On the global scale, VETASSESS maps international credentials to similar ones offered by education institutions in Australia. In close collaboration with the issuing institution, VETASSESS compares the credentials to identify any gaps in learning, at which point Australian institutions are consulted to determine how the international credential can be transferred. This mapping work is an integral contribution to international learner mobility. For professional and trade occupations, VETASSESS offers their International Qualifications Assessment Service to compare international qualifications to the Australian Qualification Network and other national frameworks. VETASSESS offers verification of academic qualifications from the People’s Republic of China through their partner, the Centre for Student Services and Development (CSSD).

In an increasingly digital world, a user’s ability to own, control and share their data and identity is invaluable. Users can choose how, when and with whom they wish to share their confidential data with in secure and verifiable ways with decentralized identifiers (DIDs). MATTR is at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of DIDs, providing flexible, efficient solutions for government agencies, industry bodies, businesses or Web3 companies. Verifiable credentials are integral to cultivating digital trust, allowing holders, issuers, and verifiers to be confident in the validity and security of information. From credential issuance to verification, MATTR has the technology and expertise to support each step of the journey. With MATTR, any type of credential can be created and issued, verified in real-time, and included in a credential wallet that can be tailored to specific needs. Academic, professional, and other credentials can be issued, shared, and verified with MATTR, including personal identification credentials that can be stored digitally and presented in-person, as proof of vaccination, licensing, or any other physical identification document. MATTR works in adherence with and contributes to the development of the latest digital standards for digital credentialling and verification, further exemplifying their commitment to global interoperability and data mobility.

Established in 1850, the University of Sydney (USyd) is Australia’s oldest university, home to nearly 70,000 students. Offering 450 courses, USyd’s expertise ranges across many disciplines. The University of Sydney is a leading research institution, committed to collaboratively solving some of the most complex emerging issues in today’s global climate. With industry partners including Microsoft, Adobe, and Qantas, USyd’s state of the art facilities and highly skilled staff work towards meaningful solutions to real problems, including converting plastic waste into fuel and building the world’s first quantum computer. USyd offers opportunities for businesses to take part in research projects that uniquely affect them, harnessing the power of the University’s robust research capabilities. Fair and equitable access to education is another pillar of the University’s core values. They offer various pathways and scholarships to better position students of low socio-economic status to access higher education. USyd also engages directly with secondary schools in metropolitan and regional areas to ensure students making the transition from secondary to post-secondary education are well informed. USyd emphasizes international collaboration, and has partner institutions across North America, Asia and Europe, increasing the depth of their research as well as offering their students opportunities for growth and more expansive learning through exchange programs.

Since 2005, Global Academic Ventures (GAV) has partnered with over 100 post-secondary institutions across the globe to enhance the education of international students, offering opportunities for invaluable practical experience and learning. Through their various programs, students take part in immersive, hands-on education to bolster their skillset and value as future professionals. GAV offers internships across a broad range of disciplines to allow students to gain practical experience in their chosen field of study that will set them apart as future job seekers. Students work closely with industry professionals as a crucial step in their learning journey, where they acquire skills needed to be a valuable part of their future professional field. Internships are significant opportunities for businesses to benefit from cost effective labor and new perspectives while contributing valuable training and skill development to the future of the workforce. GAV partners with businesses across various disciplines to collaboratively offer internship programs that benefit the learner, the business, and the industry overall.

Independent Higher Education Australia represents the majority of independent higher education (HE) providers across Australia, whose enrolled students total over 130,000. By advocating for its network of members in government, parliamentary and industry settings, IHEA ensures that independent HE providers continue to be a strong voice in higher education. IHEA upholds rigorous quality benchmarks for the education provided by their network by ensuring all their members are accredited by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and are compliant with the Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF) and the Australian Quality Framework (AQF). IHEA members must also adhere to their Code of Good Practice on an ongoing basis. Members benefit from networking and professional development opportunities, access to valuable resources and academic libraries, and representation in key conversations surrounding policy and reform in higher education. This year, IHEA made submissions on a National Skills Passport and a National Student Ombudsman, contributing the key insights of its members to emerging developments in Australia’s higher education landscape.

Universities Australia (UA) is the peak body representing 93% of all Australian universities, acting as the voice of the sector. Through their advocacy, UA brings the perspectives of its 39 member universities to national and international discussions, shaping research priorities and policy making and driving innovation across higher education. At the UA’s annual conferences, universities, industry professionals, and other decision makers from across the country work together to identify emerging priorities and focus areas for the upcoming year in higher education. They facilitate discussions and debates that ultimately set the stage for change making in Australian higher education. UA also hosts other events to promote cooperation and mutual support within the higher education sector. On behalf of their member universities, UA makes regular submissions on highly relevant topics in higher education. Recently, they have made submissions regarding the adoption of artificial intelligence in Australian education, the Higher Education Standards Framework, and developing the national nursing workforce strategy. UA implements several campaigns dedicated to promoting the contributions of Australian universities to other sectors and society, ensuring equal opportunity for Indigenous students, and supporting student safety.

The University of Melbourne is Australia’s second oldest university, esteemed for its high academic standards and quality of education, contributions to research, and community betterment and engagement. Offering a wide range of programs across disciplines including law, medicine, engineering, and the arts, the University continues to drive progress by providing industry leaders and professionals of tomorrow with excellent educational opportunities. The University demonstrates a notable commitment to the environment and sustainability through their One Planet initiative, which includes a Sustainability Framework that outlines goals, outcomes, and accountability practices to be implemented as the University continues to foster an environmentally conscious community. With numerous cutting-edge research facilities across their campuses, the University is a leading contributor to advancing the fields of sciences, technology, and the arts alike. The University exemplifies their commitment to the importance of cross-institutional and global collaboration in research in their many partnerships with international universities and experts. Businesses, not-for-profits, government agencies and other institutions are also invited to partner with the University to explore research, funding, and commercialization opportunities.

The Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres (ACTAC) facilitates communication and collaboration between five member admissions centres across Australia and New Zealand: Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC), South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC), Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC), Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), and Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC). ACTAC provides opportunities for resource and best practice sharing between tertiary admissions centres (TACs). ACTAC works to ensure that admissions processes are consistent across all admissions centres to provide students with fair and equal access to tertiary education. Through the development and implementation of the Automated Results Transfer System (ARTS) that allows exchange of digital student records between institutions and tertiary admissions centres, ACTAC continues to demonstrate dedication to digital student data portability, and they continue to work to expand this project further. The coordination of information sharing and networking by ACTAC across TACs is crucial to the advancement of the higher education sector as each TAC plays a key part in the learner journey.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is the independent quality assurance and regulatory agency for Australian higher education providers. TEQSA registers and accredits the courses of regulated higher education providers and conducts regular compliance and quality assurance assessments. TEQSA stakeholders include government agencies and departments at the federal, state, and tertiary levels, higher education providers, peak body representatives for higher education, professional accreditation agencies, students, and international partners. Regular engagement with stakeholders through the annual TEQSA conference, consultations and surveys ensures that all parties have a collective understanding of their respective roles, responsibilities, and expectations and that current feedback is available to inform TEQSA’s regulatory practices. TEQSA also assists its stakeholders in upholding their obligations under the standards for higher education. In today’s academic climate, academic integrity is facing new and constantly evolving challenges. The Global Academic Integrity Network (GAIN), co-founded by TEQSA, is a coalition of education quality assurance and integrity agencies dedicated to combatting the rise of commercial academic cheating services targeting students to accomplish their collective goal of protecting students, institutions, and academic integrity. Similarly, the APEC Quality Assurance Online Learning Project, managed by TEQSA, focused on quality assurance for online higher education providers in the APEC region. The project produced a toolkit to support quality assurance agencies against contract cheating schemes. Transparency and accountability are at the forefront of TEQSA’s considerations as a national regulatory and quality assurance agency. Annual and financial reports are available for public view, along with their corporate plan and all regulatory policies.

Owned by the Australian Higher Education sector, HES, a subsidiary of Universities Australia, facilitates opportunities for connection and collaboration within the sector to drive innovation and advancement in higher education. HES manages several forums tailored to topics of particular interest to higher education, where members are encouraged to share their experiences and best practices in a secure online environment to advance the sector collectively. Information and data can also be shared freely by sector members and collected by HES to produce their analytical tools, providing valuable benchmarking references for members, bolstering the quality of higher education offered across the country. Technology is at the heart of the future of higher education, and HES ensures that the sector is well positioned to access the latest advancements by establishing and maintaining valuable partnerships with technology providers whose products stand to benefit higher education. Their current partners include Amazon Web Services, Oracle, Ceridian, Callista, and NextGen/Optima. My eQuals is Australia and New Zealand’s official tertiary qualifications digital sharing platform, managed by HES. My eQuals issues authentic, verifiable, and official credentials to learners who can then access and share their documents on their own terms. Over 2.5 million learner accounts have been created with My eQuals, and over 87 providers currently issue credentials/documents through the platform. My eQuals promotes learner mobility and autonomy and combats fraud by providing only official, authenticated digital qualifications.

Article Summaries

Universities Australia


Regulation and accreditation – Universities Australia


Several pieces of legislation cohesively come together to govern higher education as a sector in Australia. The Higher Education Support Act (HESA), implemented in 2003, provides the main legislation for governing the sector as a whole, including approval of higher education providers, government funding, student loans, and admissions and reporting. The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) provides quality assurance and regulation for higher education providers in Australia. Several professions require accreditation of education by professional agencies, which may include accreditation of university courses. In 2016, Universities Australia (UA) signed a Joint Statement of Principles for Professional Accreditation with Professions Australia, which represents 18 peak bodies for professional organizations across the country. The purpose of these principles is to improve consistency across professional accreditation of university courses, bolstering fair assessment practices and upholding high standards for the quality of education.


Department of Education, Australian government


Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement

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Last Modified: 07/12/2022


In 2007, 14 Australian universities were commissioned to produce a framework for the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS), a document that would serve as the Australian equivalent to the European Diploma Supplement. Their key recommendations were that the AHEGS should be free for all students graduating from an accredited Australian higher education (HE) provider, and that the implementation of the AHEGS be on a voluntary basis for HE providers. The goal of the AHEGS is to provide a comprehensive overview of a graduate’s academic qualifications along with supplementary information to provide context around the qualification thus allowing Australian credentials to be recognized internationally with ease. An AHEGS includes information about the student, their earned academic qualification, and the issuing HE provider. An AHEGS describes the nature, level, context, and status of the studies completed, and information describing the units of study along with a key to their grading. A description of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is also included. By providing all information needed to understand a student’s qualification in a single, straightforward document, the AGHES seeks to allow Australian qualifications to be more recognizable worldwide, hence improving the international mobility of Australian graduates.

Andrew Norton


Higher Education Report (

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The Higher Education Report, Mapping Australian Higher Education, provides an extensive and thorough overview of many aspects of higher education (HE) in Australia. The report approaches higher education from the perspective of the learner, institution, academic staff, employers, and the public. A general foundation is provided in the report, outlining what it means to be a registered HE provider, differentiating each type of HE provider, including universities versus non-university HE providers. Admission processes and data are discussed, along with enrolment trends, particularly domestic versus international student trends. Student experience data is a crucial litmus test in gauging the state of higher education, and the report includes information surrounding online and part-time study experiences, work integrated learning, pass/fail rates, academic integrity, student mental health, and student satisfaction. The university workforce is of course another pillar of the higher education sector. The report explores employment in universities, entry into the academic workforce, academic pay and job satisfaction, and other aspects of the workforce. Universities offer invaluable research capacity and potential, as many are among the leading research bodies in the country. The research workforce, research capacity by university along with research topics, types, and outputs, are included in the document. Mapping Australian Higher Education covers additional topics to complete a comprehensive analysis of Australian higher education and is an informative and straightforward review of the sector.
Beverly Crawford-Westre


Biometric Update

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In 2023, a National Digital Skills Passport framework was confirmed for Australians. The Passport will provide job-seekers with a straightforward way to share their skills and qualifications with employers and allow employers to be confident in the authenticity of said qualifications. The Passport will store high school, university, and vocational qualifications, serving as a single universal platform for verified qualifications to be used for job applications, serving as a digital ID for job-seekers.
Department of Education, Australian government


Universities Accord Final Report

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On February 21 of this year, Australia’s Department of Education released the Australian Universities Accord Final Report along with a summary of the final report. The report provides recommendations for long-term reformation of Australia’s higher education (HE) sector that will be integral in meeting the nation’s skills and employment needs over the next 20 years. It was discovered that significant changes need to be made to the sector to close growing skills gaps and set Australia on track for economic growth and success. Attainment and participation in higher education, relationships between higher education and VET (Vocational Education and Training), diversity of qualifications being offered, the university funding model, and use of university research are among the areas that require substantial adjustments. Currently, the country’s skills needs are not being met, and the report found that higher education and VET graduate numbers must be drastically increased to meet them going forward. Research by Jobs and Skills Australia found that in the next decade, over 90% of new jobs will require post-secondary education, with 50% requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher and 44% requiring VET qualifications. Figures from Oxford Economics Australia also indicated that 90% of those aged 25-34 in Australia will need tertiary education by 2050. Thus, a tertiary attainment target of at least 80% by 2050 has been set, requiring a 20% increase from the current 60%. The proportion of university educated Australians aged 25-34 will also need to be increased from 45% to 55% during that time. To accomplish these goals, the sector will need to actively bring those currently underrepresented in the sector to the forefront of their priorities, emphasizing equitable access to higher education for groups with historically lower enrolment rates. This should include the introduction of a needs-based funding model and improvements to regional higher education and pathways between VET and HE. Increasing student numbers to resolve the nation’s deficits in skills is one of the key pieces to ensuring Australia’s economic prosperity. The report provides explanations for existing deficiencies in the sector and proposes concrete and attainable solutions to bridge these divides, laying the groundwork for a vastly improved and optimized higher education system that will better serve students, staff, the workforce, and Australia as a whole.
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian government


Australian Digital Capability Framework

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The Australian Digital Capabilities Framework (ADCF) provides an overview of core digital competencies required by the Australian workforce to prepare job seekers and employers alike to successfully navigate modern challenges in the labor market. The ADCF is comprised of five focus areas that encompass key skills for Australian citizens. Information and Data Literacy concerns searching, browsing, and filtering information, along with information and data verification. Communication and Collaboration covers digital communication, sharing, collaboration, and identity. Digital Content Creation includes the development, integration, and modification of digital content. Protection and Safety focuses on the protection of devices, information, privacy, health, and well-being. Finally, Technical Proficiency and Problem-Solving outlines how to manage devices and respond to issues, update digital devices and tools, and discusses learning and self-development. With the digital landscape in constant motion, necessary capabilities to be a successful contributor to the nation’s workforce are also changing. The ADCF provides Australians with a comprehensive guide to remaining adequately skilled in the face of the country’s evolving needs.
Parliament of Australia


Tertiary education: a quick guide to key internet links

Publication Date


This quick guide provides links to resources for key topics in higher education, including the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), government financial assistance programs, statistics, key organizations, library publications, and information by region.
Parliament of Australia


The vocational education and training sector: a quick guide

Publication Date


This article from the Parliament of Australia’s research paper database provides a high-level overview of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. It includes enrolment rates and numbers, demographical breakdowns of enrolled students, including where students come from (major cities, regional or remote areas). Enrolment by type of qualification, field of study, and provider type are also examined, along with the sector’s funding and governance.


Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)


This article describes the Higher Education Loan Program along with the VET Student Loan scheme and outlines the various loan types available. It also covers debt repayment procedures and links to relevant statistics.