What is Avetmiss, and how does it work? A technical dive
If you are looking to set up an RTO or are already running one, you've probably heard of AVETMISS. AVETMISS is an acronym that stands for Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard. First launched in 1994 for publicly funded TAFE and other government providers, it is now used by the entire Vocational Education and Training (VET) industry to collect and report information about training activity and students. It is a comprehensive and evolving system, and the last major upgrade to version 8 saw the introduction of mandatory USI (Unique Student Identifier) reporting (few exemptions apply). Depending on state regulations and funding, RTOs may be required to generate and submit AVETMISS reports monthly, quarterly or yearly.
AVETMISS is managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on behalf of the Department of Education and Training.
This article will focus on what an Avetmiss report is compromised of, and how all the information and files fit together.
Table of contents:
- What exactly is an AVETMISS report?
- NAT files content
- Example NAT file
- NAT files relationships
What exactly is an AVETMISS report?
AVETMISS reports have two major functions:
Research & Statistics
The AVETMISS report provides valuable statistics to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and government agencies to shape the future of training in Australia
Funding for RTOs
RTOs that receive funding rely on their AVETMISS report submission to claim their funding. Typically RTOs are paid based on enrolments, completions and other measures, which are reported by the AVETMISS report
An AVETMISS report is made of different files, called NAT files. NAT files are plain text files (.txt file extension) that contain information about training activity and learners.
Before we dive into the individual files, here is a gist about how the files work:
Files hold "records". A record is a line within the NAT file. In simple terms, the records are delimited
by Line Feeds (
\non Unix-like operating systems and
- Each record contains "fields". Each field has a fixed length of x characters. The unused characters (if any) are to be filled with spaces
NAT files are generated for what we call "Collection Periods". A collection period is conceptually similar to a financial year, in that it is a period of time between two dates. It could be a monthly collection period, quarterly, yearly etc.
All NAT files are typically zipped together for submission. This is what we reefer to as an AVETMISS report.
To sum it up, an AVETMISS report is a ZIP file made of NAT files, which are in turn made of records (lines), which are made of fields containing the data. Here is a visual representation of the structure:
It may look a little complicated, but it really isn't. Once we start to look at actual examples further down it will all make sense.
NAT files content
Here is the full list of standard NAT files:
|NAT00010 Training Organisation||This file is about your RTO and people of contact and contains information such as name, phone number, email address etc.|
|NAT00020 Training Organisation Delivery Location||This file holds a record for each delivery location in which training has been delivered during the collection period. If for example, you have delivered training in your main office and 3 remote sites, you would list all 4 locations.|
|NAT00030 Program||This file contains a record for each program that your RTO has on scope and in which learners have participated in VET activity during the collection period. Programs are also often referred to as Qualifications or Courses. An example would be CPC30211 - Certificate III in Carpentry.|
|NAT00060 Subject||This file contains a record for each subject that your RTO has on scope and in which learners have participated in VET activity during the collection period. Subjects are also often referred to as Competencies, Units or Units of Competencies. An example would be SITHFAB002 - Provide responsible service of alcohol.|
|NAT00080 Client||The Client file holds a record for each learner which have undertaken VET activity during the collection period. Records hold information such as full name, gender, date of birth, disabilities, prior educational achievements, Unique Student Identifier (USI), residential address etc.|
|NAT00085 Client Contact Details||
This file holds a record for each learners which have undertaken VET activity during the
It holds contact details information such as phone number, email, contact address (can be a PO
This file is only required for RTOs submitting to their state/territory training authority.
|NAT00090 Disability||The Disability file contains a record for each disability that learners which have undertaken VET activity during the collection period may have reported. This file can be left empty if no disabilities were reported.|
|NAT00100 Prior Educational Achievement||This file holds a record for each prior educational achievement that learners which have undertaken VET activity during the collection period may have. This file can be left empty if no prior educational achievements are reported.|
|NAT00120 Training Activity||The Training Activity file contains a record for each subject in which learners have undertaken VET activity during the collection period. Subjects are also often referred to as Competencies, Units or Units of Competencies. As we will see in chapter "NAT files relationships", the NAT00120 File is at the core of AVETMISS reporting.|
|NAT00130 Program Completed||The Program Completed file contains a record for each program completed by learners during the collection period. Programs are also often referred to as Qualifications or Courses.|
There are also two supplementary files (also knows as "A" files): The NAT00010A - Training organisation file and NAT00030A - Program file. We won't spend too much time on those, as they only serve to replace the standard files described above in specific situations that are not relevant to RTOs.
Example NAT file
Okay, let's have a look at a concrete example. We will pick a somewhat simple NAT file for this demonstration, notably the NAT00060 - Subject file. Below is a breakdown for each record (or line) in this file.
|Field name||Field length||Field Rules|
This field must not be blank
If listed on the National Register of VET as a unit of competency or accredited unit, then Subject identifier must match the subject identifier listed on the National Register of VET.
This field must not be blank
If Subject identifier is listed on the National Register of VET as a unit of competency or accredited unit, then Subject name must match the subject name listed on the National Register of VET.
|Subject field of education identifier||6||This field may be blank if Subject identifier and Subject name in combination match the code and name combination listed on the National Register of VET.|
This field may be blank if Subject identifier and Subject name in combination match the
code and name combination listed on the National Register of VET.
VET flag must be 'Y' when reporting to the National VET in Schools Collection.
|Nominal hours||4||This field may be blank if Subject identifier and Subject name in combination match the code and name combination listed on the National Register of VET and Subject identifier also exists in NCVER's nationally agreed hours system file.|
This tells us the following:
- The first 12 characters of each line are dedicated to a "Subject identifier". If the Subject identifier is less than 12 characters long, we will fill the rest with spaces
- The next 100 characters are reserved for the Subject name. If the Subject name is less than 100 characters long, we will fill the rest with spaces
- The next 6 characters are dedicated for Subject field of education identifier. If the Subject name is less than 6 characters long, we will fill the rest with spaces. If we don't report a Subject field of education identifier, we will add 6 spaces
- The next character is reserved to VET flag. If we don't report a VET flag (which can be 'Y' or 'N'), we will simply have a space
- The next 4 characters are dedicated to Nominal hours. If the Nominal hours are less than 4 characters long, we will fill the rest with spaces. That also means that if we don't report nominal hours, we will have 4 spaces
Now that we have reached the end of the record, we add a Line Feed
(new line, refresher:
\non Unix-like operating systems and
\r\non Windows). We can now start over for record number 2, record number 3 and so on.
Let's create a record for "SITHFAB002 - Provide responsible service of alcohol" (see on training.gov.au).
- Subject identifier field: Since the unit is listed on the National Register of VET, we will use its code: "SITHFAB002". This will use 10 of the 12 characters, so we add 2 spaces at the end to satisfy the field length requirement
- Subject name field: Since the unit is listed on the National Register of VET, we will use its name: "Provide responsible service of alcohol". This will use 38 of the 100 characters, so we add 62 spaces at the end to satisfy the field length requirement
- Subject field of education identifier field: Since we satisfied the two requirements, we can leave this field empty. We add 6 spaces to satisfy the field length
- Vet flag field: For this exercise, let's assume that we do indeed submit to the National VET in Schools Collection. Following the rule above, we add 'Y'. This fills the entire dedicated length of one character, so we leave it at that
- Nominal hours field: Again, we satisfy the rules and are allowed to leave this field empty. For this exercise, let's assume that we weren't. We add '10' followed by 2 spaces to satisfy the field length
Here is what we end up with:
Note: For clarity, spaces are displayed as the following character:
Also, unless your screen is very wide, you can scroll the content below horizontally.
NAT files relationships
So far we've seen what an AVETMISS report is, what NAT files are, the information they contain and how they are formatted. The final step is to understand the relationship between the files and see how they all fit together.
Let's start by having a look at the following diagram:
As we can see, only two files are always mandatory: NAT00010 - Training organisation and NAT00080 - Client.
The two arguably most important files however are the NAT00120 - Training activity and NAT00130 Program completed files. These two files have the notion of "Collection period" as explained further up, and will dictate what is included in the other files.
- Only delivery locations reported in the NAT00120 file will be included in the NAT00020 file
- Only subjects reported in the NAT00120 file will be included in the NAT00060 file
- Only programs reported in the NAT00130 file will be included in the NAT00030 file
- Only learners reported in either the NAT00120 file or the NAT00130 file will be included in the NAT00080 file. This then gets expanded further to the NAT00085 (if required), NAT00090 and NAT00100 files, which will only include learners reported in the NAT00080 file.
This article touched on some basic concepts, and also went a little deeper on some subjects. While most RTOs will be using software developed by engineers such as myself abstracting most of its complexities away from the end user, it never hurts to have more advanced knowledge on compliance critical topics such as AVETMISS, especially when claiming tax payer funding. The repercussions for submitting inacurate data can be devastating to small and large RTOs alike.
I hope that this article has helped you understand how the AVETMISS system works. As always, if you have questions, our team of RTO consultants is here to help, so get in touch!
Mr. Ryan Senn has written an Elixir language library to generate AVETMISS reports. The code is open source
and can be found on github. Documentation
The library has been written for the needs of Tradie Training, an RTO delivering the White Card course.