Everything You Need To Know About An RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)

For many, considering a change of career or thinking about upskilling isn’t uncommon. But the prospect of going through the entire process again is daunting. Fortunately, you don’t have to start at square one. In Australia, when you’re looking at going back to university or starting a new trade, educational institutions and work places allow for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Not only is it great for speeding up new courses but it also gives you credit for what you’ve previously learned and achieved. 

What does Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) actually mean?

Whether you’ve undertaken a four-year degree or learned from the best in the business, no doubt you’ve picked up transferable skills that are relevant to different trades and professions. This is where a registered training organisation (RTO) comes in. An RTO can evaluate all of the knowledge and experience that you’ve accumulated in your career to decide whether you’ve picked up relevant skills to another vocation. After they assess your previous work, they’ll determine if your skillset is up to Australian standards and if it should be formally recognised – this process is called the Recognition of Prior Learning. For example, if you’ve worked as an Executive Assistant (EA), you may have picked up skills that are relevant to a business administration qualification. 

What is the RPL Process?

In order to gain an RPL certificate, sign up to a registered training organisation like Qualify Me. They’ll give you a free skills assessment that will give you an indication of whether your previous experience and learnings should be formally recognised. The assessment will also help identify what you need to do to reach your career goals.

Next, you’ll need to gather all the evidence that prove you have gained knowledge and understanding that should be accredited. This includes: current resume, reference letters, work samples, photos or videos, certificates and transcripts, and overseas qualifications. 

A qualified assessor will then go through your portfolio before calling you in for quick chat, or if necessary, observe you in a practical setting and check that you have the essential capabilities. They will also ensure you meet Australian industry standards.

Once the assessor is happy that you contain the necessary knowledge and proficiency to be recognised with a different expertise, they will issue you with a nationally accepted RPL certificate. 

Why is Recognition of Prior Learning important?

Not only does it recognise the prior learning you’ve undertaken and the experience you’ve acquired in your career so far, it also reduces the time it would take if you signed up for further tertiary education. Plus, if you’re looking for that promotion or to move within your company, an RPL will help convince your supervisors you’re fit for the job. 

How do I get an RPL in Australia?

Regardless of whether your experience was gained in Australia or abroad, as long as you have evidence of your knowledge and skills, you’re able to apply for an RPL.

Once you’re confident you’ve got the supporting documents and you’re ready to get the ball rolling, sign up to an RTO to begin your skills assessment. Once the boxes have been ticket and the assessor is happy that you meet Australian standards, you’ll be issued an RPL certificate. 

What documents or evidence requirements are needed to qualify for an RPL?

Before you consider applying for an RPL, it’s important to think about what documents you have on hand that prove you’re a capable candidate. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to show evidence of your prior work, experience and knowledge. The standard papers include records of completed training assessments, declarations from your employer that show proficiency and competence, and of course, any student records provided by ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority). Proof should also be fairly recent – within the last two to three years. 

If you’re looking to bolster your portfolio with further documents, you can also include a report detailing your relevant experience. Try to add references from people you have professional relationships with – this will add reputability to your claims. 

So what are you waiting for? Whether you want to add to your resume or you’re eying up a different vocation, get started with Qualify Me now. 

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