Recognition of prior learning (RPL) or Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) is a process for giving candidates credit for skills, knowledge and experience gained through working and learning. It can be gained at any stage of life, through formal and informal learning, in Australia or overseas, through work or other activities, such as volunteering.
The benefit of RPL is it is faster, more cost-effective and more efficient than putting people through training in areas they already know well. It means less time off-the-job and is more satisfying for the learner.
All Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are required to have a process in place for skills recognition, and this is usually outlined in their enrolment and induction information. It is also possible to make an application to an RTO for skills recognition alone, without signing up for a full training program.
The recognition process involves providing evidence of your skills and knowledge, which is then reviewed by an assessor at an RTO. The evidence could include:
- work samples
- letters or references from employers
- performance reviews
- position descriptions
- certificates or transcripts for other training that you have completed.
The RTO may also arrange to assess you in the workplace if you are currently working in the industry.
The RTO will assess the evidence, and if you meet the requirements, will recognise you for the relevant units of competency. RTOs usually charge a fee for this service.
Outcomes of the recognition process
It is possible to gain recognition for one or more individual units of competency, or for a full qualification. If you are recognised as competent in one or more individual units of competency, you will be entitled to receive a Statement of Attainment for the relevant units.
Statements of Attainment stand in their own right to show that you hold particular skills, and can also be used as credit toward full qualifications if you wish to complete more training and finish a qualification now or in the future.
If you are recognised as competent in the required combination of units to make up a qualification, you can be awarded the qualification.
The best way to begin the process is to find a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to manage the process. They will be able to advise you on their fees and procedures, and assist you in working through the process. You can find a suitable RTO through MySkills—Australia’s training directory at myskills.gov.au.