Prerequisite units in the Australian VET system

Prerequisite is a term that has a specific meaning in the Australian VET system.

The Standards for Training Packages defines a prerequisite unit as any unit or units in which the candidate [learner] must be deemed competent prior to the determination of competency in this unit. Therefore, the sequence of delivering a unit must comply with prerequisite requirements when specified.

Prerequisite requirements can be found in the units of competency. You may also find prerequisite information in Training Package Implementation Guides that are developed by the Training Package Developers. These documents are published on the website.

This article is primarily aimed at helping TAE Students who are studying the TAEDES402 Use training packages and accredited courses to meet client needs unit. It is a follow on from a recently published article title, How to use training packages to meet client needs. However, this article may also be of interested to recently qualified or experienced VET practitioners to refresh their ability to use training packages.

A 5-step process shall illustrate my approach to ensuring a training program complies with prerequisite requirement.


For this example, let’s say you work for an RTO and you have been asked to design a training program for food and beverage attendants.

Photo by Cyril Saulnier on Unsplash

The SIT20316 Certificate II in Hospitality qualification is applicable for this scenario. And the packaging rules for this qualification are:

12 units must be completed

6 core units

6 elective units, consisting of:

  • 1 unit from Group A
  • 3 units from Group B
  • 2 units from Group B, elsewhere in the SIT Training Package, or any other current Training Package or accredited course.

Step 1. Create a table and insert core units

For this example, a table is created with 12 blank rows in preparation to insert the 12 units required by the SIT20316 Certificate II in Hospitality qualification packing rules. The 6 core units have been inserted. None of these units have a prerequisite.

Step 2. Start selecting elective units

The packaging rules for the SIT20316 Certificate II in Hospitality qualification requires one unit from Group A to be selected. In this example, SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety unit has been selected and it does not have a prerequisite.

Step 3. Continue selecting elective units

Next, the SITHFAB007 Serve food and beverage unit has been selected.

The SITHFAB007 Serve food and beverage unit states that SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety unit is a prerequisite.

In this case, the SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety unit has already been selected as the Group A elective.

Step 4. Include prerequisite units

If a unit specifies a prerequisite that has not previously been selected, then include it and check that the qualification packaging rules are still being complied with.

In this case:

  • the SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety unit has already been selected
  • the SITHFAB002 Provide responsible service of alcohol unit has not already been selected and it must be included.

The prerequisite sequence can be sorted in the next step. Also, this is an example showing that a unit may have more than one prerequisite.

Step 5. Give structure and sequence to the qualification

The delivery sequence of units can be decided, and the training program can be given structure.

Double-check for compliance:

  • Qualification packing rules
  • Prerequisite units

* The SITHFAB002 Provide responsible service of alcohol unit must be completed before the SITHFAB003 Operate a bar unit is commenced. This means integrated assessment of these two units is not permitted.

Note: In the above example, the sequence shows core units, followed by Group A unit, followed by Group B units. This sequence has not been deliberate and there are other ways that this qualification could be structured. For example, SITXCCS003 Interact with customers and SITHFAB007 Serve food and beverage units work together.

The Australian VET system can be extremely flexible and responsive to client needs. And this flexibility allows RTOs to be innovative in the way they deliver training and assessment services.

In conclusion

The sequence and structure for a qualification provides the essential starting point to design the training program. Prerequisite requirements must be complied with.

  • Do you find the 5-step process a useful guide?
  • Did you learn something from this article?

Australia’s VET system

Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system is complex and forever changing. People studying for their TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification may find useful information on this website. Tap or click on the following ABC logo to find out more.

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This article supplements the TAE40116 resources that have been developed by On Target Work Skills.

Are you an RTO, and do you want to purchase training and assessment resources for delivering the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification?

Contact now!

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Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

4 thoughts on “Prerequisite units in the Australian VET system”

  1. Thank you for putting practice back into learning with latest blog on the use of pre-requistes within the Vet System. Can trainers from outside of your state undertake Tae training with? We are looking to upskill with diplomas in TAE.


    1. Hi Beryl,
      Currently, I am not delivering the TAE Diplomas so I am unable to help you with your search. I wish you well as you look for a quality TAE provider.
      Kind regards,
      Alan Maguire


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