Imagine you’ve spent years of your life honing your skills, gaining experience, and becoming a master in your field. But when it comes to formal qualifications, you’re starting from scratch. Time-consuming and demoralising, right? There is a way to recognise your experience. It’s called Recognition of Prior Learning.


But there’s a lot of misconceptions about it, the process of getting it and what you’ll need to be able to apply for recognition. In the end though, it’s about evidence. Evidence that you can show that you can do something and evidence that you have the knowledge required.


So what is RPL?

RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) is a process designed to acknowledge and value the skills, knowledge, and experience you’ve acquired through formal, non-formal, and informal learning. It’s like giving credit where credit’s due. Instead of starting from square one, RPL allows you to demonstrate your competency in a particular qualification by providing evidence of your prior learning. It’s a pathway that recognises and rewards your hard work and expertise.


But it’s not just a matter of throwing in your CV or a couple of reports you’ve written; there’s a bit more to it than that.


The Role of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are the gatekeepers to RPL. They play a crucial role in assessing and granting recognition based on the evidence provided by someone seeking RPL. Think of them as the knowledgeable guides who can navigate the complex landscape of RPL and help you unlock your potential.


Now, let’s talk about how RTOs gather evidence to assess your eligibility for RPL. It’s like being a detective, but instead of solving a crime, we’re piecing together your educational journey. We’re gathering evidence that you can do the things required. And, by the way, we know you can, but it’s all about the evidence! Here are some common methods used by RTOs:

Identifying the Required Evidence:

  • RTOs start by identifying the specific evidence needed to assess your prior learning against the learning outcomes of the qualification you’re seeking. It’s like creating a checklist of your achievements and experiences.

Providing Guidance and Support:

  • Once the evidence requirements are identified, RTOs provide guidance and support to help you understand the RPL process. They’ll explain what type of evidence is acceptable and how to prepare it.

Self-Assessment or Interview:

  • Depending on the qualification and the evidence provided, RTOs may conduct a self-assessment or an interview to gather additional information about your prior learning. This step allows them to delve deeper into your experiences and ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

Evidence-Gathering Methods and Tools:

  • Remember those magnifying glasses and fingerprint kits from detective movies? Well, RTOs use their own set of evidence-gathering methods and tools. These might include reviewing documents, conducting workplace observations, or even assessing your portfolio of work. It’s like building a case file that showcases your expertise.

Ensuring Validity and Fairness:

  • Just as justice demands fairness and authenticity, RTOs ensure that the evidence you provide is valid, authentic, and reliable. They want to ensure the integrity of the RPL process and maintain the same standard as other assessments for the qualification. So, no shortcuts or unverified transcripts will suffice.


RPL can save you time and money when getting a qualification. You don’t have to waste valuable resources on repeating what you already know. With RPL, you can also fast-track your educational journey and focus on acquiring any new skills or knowledge needed to fill any gaps.


Even if you’ve been doing a job a long time (and have done all the things outlined in the qualification) you’ll still need some proof (evidence). It’s easy to say that you’ve done something, but you need to be able to show it. RTO’s help you gather the evidence, but ultimately there’s an onus on you to gather it. It’s got to be relevant, recent, and of a standard to show your competence.


As an RTO, PICA accepts RPL and encourages future learning. If you want to learn more about the world of investigation with PICA, reach out today!