Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Australia

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a formal assessment process that can be used to determine an individual's current level of industry knowledge, identify skills and workplace experience. In order for Qualifications to be issued, an RPL assessment must be completed to verify your competency against the established industry standards that are contained in the National Training package allocated to the course you are undertaking.

RPL is used to review the applicants learning and development, taking into account any completed prior formal training. The Gold Coast Training College also uses a skills recognition process taking into account your current skills.  

Benefits of RPL

RPL is an endorsed method to issue Qualifications within the VET sector in Australia. If Applicants have well developed industry experience, it provides an opportunity to achieve Qualifications more quickly that studying.

Benefits include:

  • Skills, experience & knowledge developed throughout your life and career will be verified
  • Nationally Recognised Qualifications can be issued to verify your experience;
  • Saves considerable time in achieving Qualifications, as there is generally no requirement for study or additional training;
  • Don’t repeat training for skills that you have already developed throughout your career;
  • It identifies training gaps that need to be filled so you can achieve competency at the industry standards required;
  • Assessment process is specific to job history & industry and relates to current or previous roles.

Direct Credit Transfer

This is the recognition of any current Australian Qualifications that you have completed.  Qualifications that have been attained through previous study are important evidence to support your Application.  If Qualifications were issued by an Australian RTO, they include an Academic Transcript providing a full listing of all Units of Competency that were successfully completed. The Gold Coast Training College will apply a credit transfer process to your qualification if you have prior nationally recognised training.

Using Overseas Qualifications for RPL

If you have International Qualifications, you cannot undertake RPL courses with the Gold Coast Training College until they have been verified. Please refer to this link for overseas qualifications Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) - Competency


When defining competency in the Recognition of Prior Learning context, the following key points must be considered.

You must be able to:

  1. provide evidence that demonstrates you consistently and regularly apply your knowledge and skills on the job;
  2. consistently meet the standard of quality performance required in the workplace, based on industry standards;
  3. have the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge across a range of job roles in your industry;
  4. can easily and readily adapt to new and changing situations and work environments;
  5. can apply skills and knowledge that is relevant to the occupation in which you are currently employed.

Demonstration of Competency

You must be able to demonstrate competency before you will be issued with a Nationally Recognised Qualification.

When preparing evidence for RPL, it is important to consider the following points. You will be required to demonstrate the following:

  1. Demonstrated the ability to apply specific industry related knowledge & skills throughout your career.
  2. Consistently applied your experience and understanding over a  period of time.
  3. Worked within your specialist industry in positions with reputable businesses;
  4. Worked in a sufficient range of work positions and demonstrate career progression;

Determinations of Not Yet Competent

The Gold Coast Training College will assist you with professional support at every stage of the RPL process, ensuring you have the best opportunity to achieve the Qualifications you are seeking.

Assessors will ensure that the assessment process is reliable, fair, and flexible.  So if you are able to supply suitable evidence that is valid, current and sufficient, then a professional decision on your competency will generally be a straight forward process.

If Applicants are unable to provide sufficient evidence for an Assessor to determine competency, then the requirement for additional evidence may be fulfilled by completing various forms of gap training.  Additional fees apply when this is required.

If you are unable to complete all Units of Competency successfully, you are still entitled to receive a "Statement of Attainment" listing the Units that you have successfully completed and been deemed "competent".  This can be used for direct credit transfers for any further qualifications that you would like to complete in the future.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) - Evidence Required

Types of Evidence Checklist

The types of evidence that can be submitted are extensive. Our Recognition of Prior Learning Self Assessment Kits contain an evidence checklist that you complete as part of the self-assessment process. This checklist allows you to list evidence of your skills, knowledge and expertise that is relevant to the Units you are completing.

The main form of evidence submitted for RPL is generally work based documentation. However, allowing for flexibility and individuality of each Applicant means the types of evidence that can be submitted is extensive and varied.

The main forms of evidence that can be submitted include:

Career History

Documents that verify your current and previous industry experience including Resume / CV, Contracts of Employment and Job Descriptions that detail your duties and responsibilities in the positions you have worked.

Training and Career Development

Copies of Qualifications with Academic Transcripts or Statements of Attainment for training that has been completed previously can be used to obtain credit transfers for your Application. Provide details of training courses, inductions & orientations, seminars, workshops, industry committee or association memberships, fellowships and scholarships or industry awards or recognition that you have received.

References, Testimonials and Reviews

These will be used as a cross reference for evidence of your career history that is provided in your Resume / CV. Any colleagues that will provide a referral or testimonials for your current or most recent industry work must have valid contact details so that they can be contacted to confirm your experience if required.

Work based Documentation

These documents are essential forms of evidence that MUST be submitted as part of the Application as they provide clear evidence of the systems & procedures you use or have developed in the workplace. These are directly referenced against Units of Competency.

The Gold Coast Training College clearly understands the issues in regard to privacy, confidentiality and intellectual property rights relating to any work based documentation that Applicants submit. We always consider the professional integrity of such information and have operational systems in place to ensure that any such information is only used for the process of RPL Applications and Assessment.

Work based Performance

These forms of evidence will show you actually achieving outcomes in the work environment. This is often difficult to document, but evidence can still be provided to support your Application in the form of photos, videos, voice recordings, etc. This evidence could show you completing tasks or creating products, or even show finished products or samples you have prepared in the workplace. Flexibility in the assessment process allows for this type of evidence to be considered valid. If you have prepared an e-Portfolio this is also acceptable, but it MUST be accessible by the RPL Assessor for review as required, without any access or password restrictions.