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Recognition of Prior Learning


What Is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment pathway offered by Registered Training Organisations such as Safety and Rescue Australia for individuals to gain a nationally recognised qualification.

Generally, to achieve a qualification you would undertake a training program followed by an assessment process. The RPL pathway is a substitute for the standard assessment process for individuals who have gained the same knowledge and skills through their experience rather than through a training program. This process recognises that experience can be as valuable as undertaking training.

We understand that people acquire knowledge and skills from other training programs (both accredited and non-accredited), employment within various industries as well as participation in voluntary, social and recreational activities. By documenting and assessing this experience (or prior knowledge), our assessors may be able to align this experience to competencies in the Australian Qualifications Framework.

In cases where an applicant can supply evidence that aligns completely with the requirements of the unit or qualification applied for, Safety and RescueAustralia can issue the relevant Qualification or Statement of Attainment without the candidate requiring further training/assessment.

Why Should Apply For RPL Instead Of Studying The Course?

RPL is not a suitable pathway for everyone looking to gain a qualification. It is suitable for individuals who have knowledge, skills and experience that is at the same or higher level than the qualification outcome. For example, a General Manager of an organisation who has extensive leadership experience but no formal leadership qualifications would be an ideal candidate to undertake a Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership through an RPL pathway.
If RPL is the right option for you then it can have these benefits:

  • RPL takes less time than studying
  • RPL is cheaper because you are only paying for assessment, not training and assessment
  • Receive credit for the work and other experience that you have already completed
  • Any gap training that may be required can be based on your current role/business
  • Customised assessment to suit your personal circumstances

How Does the RPL Process Work?

RPL is simply an assessment process. You would need to supply equivalent evidence collected from your own experience, to demonstrated competency in all the units of competency per qualification.
The assessor then maps your evidence to ensure that what you have supplied meets the training package requirements.

Initial Assessment – initially you submit your resume (or similar summary of your work history) and any prior qualifications that you hold. The assessor will use this to determine if the RPL process is appropriate for you.

Evidence Gathering – your assessor will provide you with some guidance on relevant evidence to supply; you will collect and submit as much evidence as possible for the assessor to review.

Evidence Mapping – your assessor will review the evidence that you supplied and map it against the training package requirements. You must be able to demonstrate sufficient, valid, authentic and current evidence against all aspects of the training package in order to be assessed as competent.

Additional Evidence / Gap Training – once the mapping has been completed your assessor may have identified some gaps in your evidence. If this is the case they will develop a strategy for you to supply additional evidence. This may be supplying additional work samples, completing projects, undertaking a competency conversation (RPL Interview) and/or completing other tasks as required to collect sufficient evidence. Your assessor will provide guidance through this process if it is required.

Final Administration – like with any formal assessment, there is a final administrative process for us to ensure that our assessors have followed the correct process to ensure quality and consistency of assessment decisions. Once this QA process has been completed your qualification can be issued.

How Long Does the RPL Process Take?

The minimum timeframe to complete an RPL is generally 1 – 2 weeks, however this varies depending on the qualification, the evidence that you supply, how quickly you supply the relevant evidence and the assessor’s workload. Often our assessors require information and verification from 3rd parties which can also take some time.

We may need to request additional evidence several times throughout the assessment process which can extend the overall timeframe so we ask that you submit as much evidence as possible in the first instance.
We require that all RPL assessments must be completed within 12 months of commencement in order to ensure evidence supplied remains current.

Are These Qualifications Nationally Recognised?

Yes. All qualifications offered by Safety and Rescue Australia are nationally recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

What Happens IF I Don’t Have Or Cannot Find Sufficient Evidence?

Our assessors have several strategies for collecting evidence to meet the assessment requirements. In addition to supplying typical RPL evidence we can provide projects, case studies, question banks, etc. We can also conduct an RPL interview, obtain 3rd party reports and have various other options.

There are plenty of options which your assessor can discuss with you based on your individual circumstances.

For more information, email Kandia Sofianos at [email protected]