In australia, all vocational education and training (vet) qualifications must be based on competency-based training (cbt) and training packages. Yet, since 2005, there has been a major expansion in the number of vet international students in australia, 85% of whom are from asia. Given this development, the teaching and learning contexts in which competency-based training and training packages are located are becoming increasingly diverse and no longer reflect the traditional training characteristics and boundaries that apply for domestic students. This paper examines the relevance of training packages and cbt for teaching international students in the australian vet sector. It draws on interviews with teachers and international students from 25 public and private training providers in australia. The discussion of the findings aims to assist the vet sector create a curriculum framework that supports flexibility, adaptation and responsiveness so that international students’ divergent and shifting study purposes and complex learning characteristics can be catered for effectively. This contributes to helping the sector remain viable in a context in which a vet course is no longer a pathway to migration. 2013 Copyright the vocational aspect of education ltd.