How to fast-track your career with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

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Recognition of prior learningIf you have been or are working without specific training, it is likely you have learned skills that will enable the fast-tracking of formal qualifications, career development and wage increases thanks to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

“RPL is simply a formal assessment of a person’s skills and knowledge learnt on the job or in life, against the competencies required in a Training Package qualification or an Accredited Course,” Suzy McKenna, RPL specialist and author of RPL Done Well told TTT.

She cited course units such as “working as part of a team” or “communication in the work place” as readily assessable skills of experienced workers.

She said more specific trade skills were harder to assess, but that it can be and is done.

“What does this person already know and what can they do in relation to the qualification?” McKenna asked, adding that licences such as Building and Construction or Electrical licences cannot be obtained by recognition of prior learning.

“A license is not a qualification, but often requires a prescribed qualification as a starting point.”

She said employers may pay for the recognition of prior learning, especially if it is in their interests for a worker to have a qualification that will benefit their firm such as sustainability, middle management or admin skills. In addition, all State governments subsidise training programs offered by approved RTOs that may include lower fees for RPL.

“To assist the assessment process, employers can provide evidence of use of knowledge and skills on the job to the RTO and support a worker to get a qualification. Employers often provide a site and tasks for on-the-job assessment.”

McKenna said choosing a reputable registered training organisation (RTO) is vital in ensuring students are accurately assessed and that specific attention should be paid to their ability as an RPL assessor.

“The person who is providing the assessment needs to be very familiar with all the units in the training package qualification,” McKenna said, saying that there were some operators who had poor practices but that the government is cracking down.

In September 2014 the Federal Government announced new rules for RTOs that will begin to be rolled out in January 2015.

These include more clearly defined training and assessment standards that RTOs must abide by and tighter qualification requirements for assessors by 2017.

She said this would help improve the quality of training.

“I think some have got away with poor practice…This will strengthen practice in assessment and the RTOs managerial responsibility for it.”

Pic | Bigstock 

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Tom is the founder and publisher of Tools Trades Toys. He has been working as an editor and producing content for the trades for around five years. He loves to tell a good story.

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