How the RPL Process Works in Australia

If you have extensive experience in a certain field, it’s likely you will have cultivated a range of diverse skills that extend beyond the scope of earlier qualifications or job descriptions. Perhaps you are considering whether this is the time to elevate your position, try for something new within a similar industry, or you have recently moved to Australia from overseas and are looking to continue working in your field. Normally this would mean returning to formal education pathways through Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), which can prove both costly and time consuming – especially when you are already familiar with the material covered. Fortunately, Australian RTOs can award nationally recognised qualifications based on prior skills, experience and knowledge, through a process known as RPL. 

Recognition of Prior Learning Explained

The reason why Australia has such stringent measures in place surrounding the obtaining of qualifications is to ensure that competency standards are maintained throughout the nation, preventing improper work procedures being practised, and leading to disadvantaged consumers. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process by which an individual can be issued all, or units of competency against, a nationally recognised qualification, through the demonstration of experience and understanding in a given field. Investing in yourself and progressing in your career through new qualifications is invaluable, and RPL is a terrific way for those otherwise deterred by the commitments of time and money to save and accelerate the process. Here is how the process works in Australia. 

RPL Assessment

As mentioned above, before an RTO can award units against, or a full, nationally recognised qualification, they need to be assured the RPL candidate is adequately competent in their field. This is done through an RPL assessment. Within this assessment, they will review materials that lend credibility to the candidate’s ability, which will be assembled prior in a Portfolio of Evidence. An interview will also be conducted, further covering the candidate’s understanding, and to communicate whether any more information is needed to make their decision. Should the evidence be deemed sufficient, the RTOs will award the candidate with the applicable qualification. If not, the RTO may offer some courses or advice on how to progress through the competency gaps and receive the qualification via other avenues. 

Portfolio of Evidence

There is no definitive way to compile the perfect Portfolio of Evidence. Essentially, consider anything relevant and related to the particular field in which you wish to receive a qualification needed within your portfolio. An RTO assessor will be looking for everything they can to see whether you should be deemed competent, so the more proof you can offer, the better. This includes any qualifications or certificates you have previously earned either in your previous job roles or overseas, references from employers, samples of completed work, and footage of you conducting said work. 

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