RPL in a Nutshell
[Updated November, 2022]
RPL has become a bit of a buzzword in the professional world for those who are looking to gain a qualification. The process of RPL has evolved over the last few decades as various VET systems have developed. The RPL process continues to be a popular pathway to a nationally recognised qualification as the VET system further streamlines the process.
What is RPL?
RPL stands for Recognised Prior Learning and it’s basically an assessment pathway offered by Registered Training Organisations like Asset College. RPL allows individuals to gain a nationally recognised qualification without completing study.
When you gain your qualification through RPL, you are assessed on your skills, knowledge and experience rather than through traditional study.
How does RPL work?
The RPL process is a fantastic option for those professionals who have gained experience through work and other activities that align to the skills taught in a course.
The RPL process involves evaluating an individual on their experience and skills gained throughout their career to assess whether they have demonstrated all competencies outlined in the course.
What sort of work experience can you use for RPL?
Gaining a qualification through RPL means gaining recognition for your experience and skills you’ve gained outside of a classroom setting. This means you could use work experience, experiences you’ve gained running your own business or experiences you’ve had through other organisations such as volunteer work or community work.
Deciding on a qualification for RPL
The first step in the process is to identify the qualification you want which aligns with your experience and skills. It might be directly within your industry, like gaining a business qualification when you work as a receptionist.
It could also be that you want to get a qualification that falls slightly outside of your industry, for example you may work in hospitality, but you have gained a lot of management experience and you’d like to get a Certificate IV or Diploma of Leadership and Management. Or, you may work for a small business but have a lot of marketing experience and want to get a qualification in marketing.
RPL is about working out what qualification applies to the experience you’ve had and will help you to formalise your skills and pursue the next phase of your career.
Research / Updating your resume
Once you know which qualification you want to go for, you can research the qualification on training.gov.au. This will give you an idea of the skills covered in each unit.
Make a note of these skills and consider what kinds of experience you’ve had that could apply. Make sure you update your resume to include all the additional skills you’ve gained that might apply to this qualification.
Submitting a free skills assessment
Once you have chosen which qualification applies to your skills and updated your resume, you can submit a free skills assessment.
The free skills assessment is a short online form, where you answer some questions and supply your resume to show what experience you have that will apply to the qualification. It doesn’t take long at all, and once you submit it our RPL manager will assess whether you’d be a good candidate for RPL.
If you are a good RPL candidate, you can start the enrolment process. We will create a specific mapping document that will help to show your experience and skills against the competencies of the qualification that will also guide your evidence collection.
The mapping document
The mapping document is created specifically for each individual. It outlines all the competencies and skills you’ll need to demonstrate for each unit in the qualification. Against each of these competencies and skills you’ll need to provide evidence that shows you have the required experience for the unit.
The evidence provided for the mapping document can vary greatly depending on the qualification you are gaining through RPL. It could be email chains, presentations, reports, letters of support, screenshots of systems, documents or other work files.
Our RPL assessor can work with you to help you figure out the most relevant examples to give. If there is an issue due to sensitive information, we can also find a way to view the evidence without compromising it.
How long does the RPL process take?
The whole RPL process once it’s underway can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on how long it takes you to get all your evidence together. For some people with excellent filing systems, it can be just a couple of weeks before they are receiving their qualification but for others it can take a little longer to find everything.
What if you don’t quite meet the requirments for the full qualification?
If you put together all your evidence and the RPL assessor doesn’t quite have enough evidence to tick off certain competencies in the qualification, don’t worry. You can still be on your way to getting your Diploma. In instances such as this where additional evidence can’t be gathered or there is no way to meet the unit requirements, you can complete remaining units through a blended combination of RPL and full study.
Blended RPL and Study
If you do end up needing to complete some units through full study, the RPL assessor will simply mark you as competent in the units you have met through RPL, and you’ll be enrolled for the remaining units through full study.
These can often be completed through self-paced, online study with the support of a trainer. And this blended approach will mean that the course is completed quicker, and you are paying less overall than if you were to have completed it through full study alone.
RPL is a wonderful option for professionals who have gained unrecognised skills and experience in their roles. Getting your qualification means being able to formalise your experience and skillset. Giving you the opportunity to apply for bigger and better roles in the future.
If you know what qualification you’re after, find out if you’re a suitable RPL candidate with our free skills assessment here. If you’re unsure and need a little more advice about RPL, you can organise to have a chat with one of our course advisors here. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.