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RPL is an assessment process that assesses the competencies acquired by an individual through formal, non-formal and informal learning in relation to the established criteria and requirements of a given qualification or standard. The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 defines:

Formal learning:
Formal learning as learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction and is linked to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment (for example, a certificate, diploma, or university degree).

Non-formal learning:
Non-formal learning as learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction, but does not lead to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment (for example, in-house professional development programs conducted by a business).

Informal learning:
Informal learning as learning that results through experience of work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities (for example the acquisition of interpersonal skills developed through several years as a sales representative).

RPL is an alternative, summative, assessment-only pathway for an individual to achieve vocational qualifications. The outcomes and rewards for achieving vocational qualifications are identical for an individual who participates in the ‘RPL pathway’ as they are for an individual who participates in the ‘training and assessment pathway’. The difference lies only in the pathway to obtaining the outcomes and rewards.

  • Remain competitive in a job market that uses qualifications as a way of short-listing applicants.
  • Enable access to further and higher educational studies
  • Demonstrate career readiness when applying for a promotion
  • Assist with applying for workplace promotion
  • Qualify existing competencies against portable industry standards
  • Help to maintain current industry standards, professional registration, or licensing requirements
  • Reduce time and money to attain qualification
  • Remove the need to study something already learnt through life experience

The purpose of the initial consultation is to establish a relationship with the candidate and help prepare them for the RPL process. The Agent will review the candidate’s work history and conduct a comprehensive discussion regarding their readiness for RPL. The initial consultation will determine if they meet the minimum requirements for RPL.

  • They have at least 2-5 years’ recent work related experience that is specific to the desired qualification
  • They can provide referees who can verify their work-related experiences
  • They can access and provide genuine evidence of their skills and associated workplace documentation
  • They meet the minimum Foundation Skills requirements for the Qualification they are seeking

This is the term that Australian Government agencies to use to cover the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF)’s five core skills of learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy. The initial consultation will include a discussion with the candidate about the qualification that best matches the candidate’s experience with their expectations.


A self-assessment questionnaire is a critical phase of the pre-enrolment process that will assist in determining what outcome a candidate is likely to obtain from an RPL assessment. The self-assessment questionnaire is an early-stage diagnostic activity that asks the candidate to self-assess against criteria that is specific to each unit of competency for the qualification. The self-assessment can be oral or written and should be designed as an indicator only of a candidate’s readiness for RPL.

The information gained from the self-assessment will provide an insight into whether RPL is right for the candidate before they decide to progress to the enrolment. At this stage both the candidate and the RTO should be confident that RPL is an appropriate pathway for the candidate to obtain their desired qualification.

It is also possible that the self-assessment may result in a decision that the candidate is not ready for RPL and that they should pursue a training and assessment pathway. It may also identify the possible need for Gap training where available evidence for specific Units of Competency is insufficient.


If, during the pre-enrolment process, a RPL candidate provides a verified training record or an academic transcript that shows they have already attained the same unit of competency, then a Credit Transfer must be granted and no further evidence or further training is required to satisfy recognition of that unit of competency.

Credit Transfer employs the principles of Mutual Recognition to recognise the prior completion of an equivalent AQF qualifications and units of competency that have been attained at another RTO. Credit Transfer cannot be applied to non-equivalent or superseded units of competency unless the mapping information deems the new unit of competency as equivalent. If the unit of competency is superseded and/or not equivalent, then the relevant training record can only be used as supporting RPL evidence together with other RPL evidence, and only to the extent of the equivalence.


Gap Training is a term used for training that is offered when a candidate has provided insufficient evidence to meet the requirements for a Unit of Competency and there is a gap in the RPL evidence. Gap Training can be delivered by distance or online learning.


Once the RPL candidate has completed the pre-enrolment process and has been deemed suitable and decides to proceed with their application for RPL, they will need to follow the process described below:

Complete the Enrolment Form. This will include provision of personal details and a declaration attesting to the accuracy and truthfulness of all information provided.


Once a candidate has received their unique Username and Password they will be directed to the RPL portal located. The RPL portal will provide the candidate with access to the online RPL assessment process. The candidate is now ready to commence the online assessment process.

Prior to commencing the assessment process the User/Candidate should be given an explanation of the three (3) step assessment process and how it works. These three assessment methods are as follows:


The first step in the process is the provision of supporting documentation. A Candidate will need to provide as much documentary evidence as possible to support the skills, knowledge, and knowhow they have acquired over their working life. They will need to list the documents and examples of their work history then upload copies of these documents. A candidate must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate they have achieved all the essentials outcomes connected to the Performance criteria for that unit of competency.


The second step is a series of short answer and multiple choice questions that will test the candidate’s knowledge on the Units of Competency included in the qualification. The questions for each unit of competency will be one short answer question specific to providing performance evidence then a series of multiple choice questions specific to providing knowledge evidence. All questions must be completed before the candidate can progress to the final step. If a Credit has been granted for any unit of competency then the set of questions specific to that unit must be completed as “credit granted”.


The final step in the process is the provision of third party verification from a current or previous employer or supervisor. The candidate only needs to insert the name of the employer, the employer company and an email address – the system will automatically sent a standard template to the appropriate parties.

The template will include certification that the candidate has worked at the organisation for a specific number of years and a description of the role they performed. It will also have a list of activities and tasks the candidate may have performed on a regular basis during their employment with this organisation.

The employer will be required to tick and verify which activities/tasks the candidate performed, sign the verification letter, and then email it back to the system.

The candidate should contact the employer/supervisor prior to the verification email being sent and advise them of the reasons they require it.