​What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL), is a process for giving candidates credit for relevant skills, knowledge and experience gained through working and learning. It can be gained at any stage of their lives, through formal and informal learning, in Australia or overseas through paid work, volunteer work, previous training and/or life experiences. Through the assessment process you may be able to gain a complete qualification or, if you have gaps in your knowledge, parts of a qualification which you can then complete with additional training.

What are the advantages of RPL?

  • You can gain a nationally recognised qualification in a shorter period of time
  • You don’t have to repeat or waste time learning what you already know
  • It saves you money in fees by only learning what you really need
  • It provides a pathway to higher education and university to develop your workforce
  • It saves on the cost of a resource fee which you are liable for if you attend normal classes
  • It provides you with formal recognition of your skills
  • It helps to gain entry or credit into another course that is relevant to your business

Who can apply?

If you think that you have already gained the skills and experience for a unit or entire qualification, you can apply for RPL to get recognised as competent for parts or a whole nationally recognised qualification.

Not everyone will get credited for their skills and knowledge. Successful applicants will need to demonstrate a reasonable amount of experience in the area their course covers.

What’s involved in the assessment process?

Once the application has been lodged, an assessor will be assigned to the candidate. If the assessor agrees you are eligible for RPL, you will be required to gather evidence to prove your competency. Providing evidence may involve:

  • answering questions about your experience and work skills
  • demonstrating your skills and knowledge through practical tasks
  • providing other evidence such as resumes, previous job descriptions, references and other relevant workplace documents

How long will it take?

Once you have submitted your application, it takes between four to six weeks. If the evidence you submitted is not enough, then your assessor will ask you to provide more information. Once the assessment is successfully completed, then you will be issued with a Statement of Attainment for partial completion or awarded a Certificate of Completion for an entire qualification depending on the evidence submitted.

What happens if I don’t meet all the requirements?

GAP Training

If you don’t have the skills and experience that is required to RPL a whole qualification you are, under the AQF, are entitled to Statement of Attainment. You can gain the whole qualification by enrolling in the units you need to attain.

In an another scenario, if you have only some of the skills and experience needed to RPL a particular unit, the assessor may ask you to complete a task or assessment to fill the gap through “Gap training” and attain RPL for that unit.

In either case, RPL helps you to facilitate the required gap training to complete the qualification. Gap training for whole units may involve an additional cost.

What will RPL cost?

If you enrol for RPL which carries a government subsidy, you will pay fees for each unit of competency in which you enrol. The cost per unit varies depending on the length of the unit and whether you are eligible for concessional rates. For more details refer to our Fees & Charges.

How do I get my skills recognised?

Skills can be recognised through a combination of the following:

  • direct observation of your work
  • interview
  • challenge testing
  • evidence, which may include some or all of the following:
    • samples of your work
    • photos/videos
    • reports
    • certificates
    • letters of support
    • written references
    • performance management and training records

When you apply for formal recognition of the skills you may already have, we compare the things you have learnt with the requirements of the units in the course. If you can demonstrate that you have already achieved the outcomes of a particular unit, you may be given recognition for that unit and not have to attend class.

Does RPL have the same requirements as other assessments?

The assessment process is as rigorous as any other assessment. The type of evidence that you will be asked for may vary however from that which would be required if you joined the formal classes.

Is study I completed years ago sufficient evidence for RPL?

To gain any recognition for study completed some time ago you will need to show how you have been applying and maintaining your skills and knowledge.

Credit transfer applies where you completed a number of formal units from a recognised course. This must be relevant to the area you are applying for credit.

Credit transfers are simple and may not require a fee. It is important to submit evidence of any formal qualifications you have received, even if they are in an unrelated study area.

RPL applies where there is no simple credit equivalence between the formal units you previously completed and the area you are being assessed against now.

What if I can’t find my old qualifications?

Contact the institution where you completed your studies to determine whether they are able to provide you with a copy of your qualification. Not having a qualification will not prevent you from going through an RPL process.

Can I just show you my skills rather than have to dig out old qualifications?

You can demonstrate your skills and knowledge without having to present your qualifications. The process may simply take a little more time to verify.

If my RPL application is unsuccessful, do I pay again if I enrol in a class?

Your RPL is considered to be an enrolment. If you are unsuccessful and want to enrol in a class you will need to pay again.

If I enrol then find I already know the work can I go through the RPL process?

If you find yourself in this situation, talk to your class trainer. Provided that the training provided that has occurred is not significant, your enrolment can be converted to RPL. You may elect to sit a challenge assessment.

Who do I contact for more information on RPL?

NIT Australia

251-255 Stirling Street

Perth, WA 6000, Australia

Phone: (08) 6269 2300