BlogMonday 05 Jan 2015

Don’t let Big Bang confusion stop you getting your USI

Fans of The Big Bang Theory will be familiar with Sheldon’s ability to side-track any discussion. Here’s how he might distract you from why Australian students need a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

Unidentified Flying Objects are found in just about every universe inhabited by science fiction fans and the familiar acronym, UFO, conveys its meaning to most people in the human universe.

North Coast TAFE hopes its adoption of the initialisation, USI, to describe the Unique Student Identifier introduced by the Australian Government, will lead to similar familiarity with its students.

Before dismissing the idea as malarkey, The Big Bang Theory’s resident genius Dr Sheldon Cooper, himself a big SciFi fan, might weigh in on the issue with, “I’m confused… do you mean ‘acronym’ or ‘initialisation’? They are two very different things, so which is it?”

Before answering Sheldon’s question, let’s stick to the real issue:  what is a USI and who needs one?

The Unique Student Identifier (USI) is part of an initiative by the Australian Commonwealth Government to enable students to have electronic access to of a record of their training results and qualifications.

“Having a USI means you can access your complete training records, no matter where you have studied, in one convenient place, whenever you need them”

From 2015, all Australian students need to have a USI before they can enrol with a registered training organisation anywhere in the country.  

Having a USI means you can access your complete training records, no matter where you have studied, in one convenient place, whenever you need them. You will be able to do this online from your computer, tablet or smart phone.

Whether you are enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling, you must supply your Unique Student Identifier (USI) to your training organisation.

Sheldon doll

Now back to Sheldon’s question – acronym or initialisation?

He’s right - they are two very different things.

Both acronyms and initialisations take the first letter of each word in the title of something to create an abbreviation. The difference is that in an acronym, the initials form a pronounce-able word (eg TAFE) whereas in an initialisation (eg IBM) they do not. 

If UFO were pronounced ‘you-foe’ and USI as ‘you-see’ they would, indeed, be acronyms but they’re not!

So technically USI (pronounced ‘you-ess-eye’) is an initialisation, but don’t let that hold you back, if you are planning to enrol at North Coast TAFE or a registered training organisation in Australia, it’s important that you create your USI as soon as possible. Then let us know what it is ASAP.


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