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Appendix D – Annual Report of the Student Identifiers Registrar

About the USI

Since 2015, all students in the vocational education and training (VET) sector are required to have a Unique Student Identifier (USI). At 30 June 2020, more than 11 million students held a USI.

The USI is a randomly generated number. Once assigned, students can use their USI each time they enrol in a nationally accredited VET course. Registered training organisations (RTOs) affix USIs to training records sent to the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) where they are stored. This enables the formation of a secure online record of the student’s training and the production of an authenticated VET transcript. Students can use their transcript when applying for a job, seeking a credit transfer or demonstrating training prerequisites.

As the USI enables more accurate data on vocational education enrolments, training completion and pathways, it can support targeted policy making and resource allocation by state and territory and Commonwealth governments.

From 1 January 2021, the requirement to have a USI will be progressively introduced for higher education students, with full effect by 2023.

Authorising legislation

The Student Identifiers Act 2014 provides for a Commonwealth statutory office holder, the Student Identifiers Registrar, to oversee the implementation and management of the USI nationally.

The Registrar’s functions include:

  • assigning and verifying student identifiers
  • preparing a student’s authenticated transcript
  • enabling students to give third parties access to their transcript
  • protecting students’ personal information from unauthorised access or misuse.

The Registrar is appointed on a full-time basis for up to five years by the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business after consulting state and territory ministers. Ms Janette Dines is the current Student Identifiers Registrar and was appointed on 15 April 2019.

The Registrar is assisted by staff from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment as well as consultants. At 30 June 2020, there were 40 staff or consultants supporting the Registrar.

The Registrar manages the Student Identifiers Special Account for the purposes of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The appropriation for 2019–20 was $7,319,875.46 and the total spend was $7,243,841.35.

This report is prepared in compliance with section 51 of the Student Identifiers Act 2014.

Registrar overview

My priorities this year were getting to know our customers and providing excellent service.

USI customers can choose online self-service, email or telephone support. Our USI registry system is available 24/7 with minimal outages and a recent survey shows that customers are highly satisfied with that channel. On average, 5,700 students and 1,200 RTOs access our system daily, conducting 98,300 transactions. Students can easily create their USI and access their account (www.usi.gov.au). One student said: “I think as far as government websites go, it’s one of the better ones.”

In the last financial year, our contact centre handled more calls, with shorter waiting times and faster call handling times. In particular:

  • 1.1 million new USIs created
  • 11 million USIs now exist
  • 26.7 million RTO USI verifications
  • 6.3 million student self-service transactions
  • 902,100 USI transcript views/downloads
  • 57,500 online help requests actioned
  • 6,900 student and RTO USI registry system logins daily
  • 3,500 active RTOs served
  • 98,800 calls handled (15.6 per cent more)*
  • 33 per cent less abandoned calls*
  • 6 minute and 42 second average call handle time (10.5 per cent faster)*^
  • 1 minute and 6 second average call wait time (44 per cent shorter)*^
  • 5 notifiable data breaches reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
  • 24 million website page views
  • website visitors from 204 countries.

* Compared to 2018–19
^ Based on weekly averages

Customers who call us report high satisfaction. One student said: “I’ve only had to call once and they were super friendly and fixed the issue straight away.” RTO feedback is equally positive: “I love the RTO line, it goes straight through and you always get a resolution within minutes.” We are well prepared to maintain this performance when the USI expands to the higher education sector in 2021.

We are active partners in the Government’s digital transformation strategy:

  • we supported the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in transitioning 3,100 RTOs from using AUSkey to using a myGovID to access our USI registry system
  • we began offering individuals the option to create a USI or login to their existing account with a reusable digital identity.

Our response to COVID-19 was swift and effective to safeguard health and provide continuity of customer service. We quickly adapted to new ways of working and deployed the technology to enable our contact centre to operate remotely. Contact centre productivity increased by 10.8 per cent for the March–June 2020 quarter while all staff were working from home.

In our latest survey, 95 per cent of staff said they understand what is expected of them in their current role and 100 per cent understand how their job contributes to the customer experience. I am thrilled to lead a team that wants to delight our customers and co-create a great place to work.

During the year, my staff and I regularly engaged with students, training providers, peak industry and education bodies, as well as government stakeholders. Their needs and expectations are reflected in our mission statement, goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Existing customer service KPIs were limited to speed and volume. We have added customer satisfaction, service quality and first contact resolution as customer service metrics.

During 2020–21, we will:

  • maintain a simple and secure service as we expand to the higher education sector
  • widely promote the benefits of the USI transcript service
  • adopt omnichannel technology to improve customer experience
  • support students in protecting their privacy online
  • support the department’s work on a schools USI
  • maintain flexibility for our employees over work location.

Ms Janette Dines
Student Identifiers Registrar

USI Mission Statement USI Mission Statement


Strongly agreed

Jan–Mar 2020

Apr–Jun 2020

I understand what is expected of me and my current role


95% (Ô2%)

I understand how my job contributes to the customer experience


100% (Ó3%)

I know who to ask if I need help with any aspects of my current role


95% (Ó1%)

I have the resources I need to perform my duties


75% (Ô4%)

I feel that my manager sees my wellbeing and learning as a priority


80% (Ó1%)

I feel that my ideas are welcome


72% (Ô4%)

I understand the link between my job and the USI mission statement


86% (Ó10%)

My performance agreement reflects my learning and development needs


78% (Ó5%)