Employers are looking for people with the right knowledge and skills for the job they are offering. There are instances when you feel you are qualified but you have little or no documentary evidence of your skills or experience. Having a qualification is a great way to tell an employer, what you can do. By having your existing skills, knowledge and abilities formally recognized you can benefit yourself and your employer. There is no barrier to gaining recognition – Recognised prior learning is a way of recognising what you already know and can do.
The process of matching an individual skills and knowledge acquired from formal education, personal study, work, volunteer experience and any other life activities such as travel, hobbies, training programs, community life and others with a Nationally Recognised qualification is called RPL – recognised prior learning. RPL can be used by people seeking admission to a course or credits towards a qualification. Those seeking entry to employment, promotion or self-development can greatly benefit from RPL.
Acquired life skills recognised as prior learning with qualifications approved under the Australian Qualifications Framework. RPL recognises life skills and practical knowledge acquired no matter how or where. Skills and knowledge need not have been gained in a formal education setting. You may have acquired college level learning through work and life experiences which may be equivalent to college courses. RPL can also help employees who have skills and knowledge in a vocational area to enable them to gain a full or partial qualification. Both formal and non-formal prior learning are recognised by RPL. It is a qualification system open to recognition of the value of learning outside the formal system.
The benefits of RPL include:
• Full or part qualification
• Gaining qualification in reduced amount of time because there is no duplication of learning
• Can save you time and money
• Advance quicker to a higher level of qualification
• Identify skill gaps to meet the job role or qualification
• RPL credit can be recognised by employers to assist with career advancement
• Reduction in unnecessary training or education
In order to recognise prior learning and skills it is necessary to compare your formal and non-formal leaning achieved against performance criteria of the qualification you are using as a basis for seeking an award or credit and submit the necessary evidence to support your claim of prior learning. Gather relevant range of valid and reliable evidence for the assessor to review and verify.
Examples of evidence you can use include:
• Work description
• Work samples, performance reviews
• Work records
• References from supervisors or previous employers
• Previous certificates of qualification
• Workshops, seminar, trainings attended
• Job sheets
• Employer recommendations
• Membership of relevant professional associations
• Industry awards
• Other documents that may demonstrate industry experience
The assessor will review all the evidence you have provided to ensure that your training qualifications and work experience is satisfactory to meet the requirements. After the assessment, you will be given information about the skills that have been recognised, whether full qualification was gained. If there are skills gaps, you can complete it through flexible training.
By applying for RPL, you can gain part or full qualification. Gathering evidence may take some time but RPL is still much faster than completing the course the regular way. RPL process will normally take between 2 – 8 weeks depending on your chosen qualification and how fast you gather evidence. Candidates are given 3 months to gather evidence to complete RPL and may gain 3 months extension if required. It is very important to look for qualified Registered Training Organisation than can help to shorten the process to 2 -4 weeks to process your results and post your qualification certificate to you.