OPEC College

RPL Explained: Can You Get RPL For Learning On The Job?

Studying new qualifications can be incredibly beneficial to advancing your career, but not everyone has the time to commit to an entire course. If you already have existing knowledge or have developed relevant skills in your work or life, this can help you achieve certain qualifications faster.

Recognition of Prior Learning (sometimes also known as recognition of current competency) takes into account your previous skills, experience or qualifications to help you shorten the time it takes to undergo a course, ensuring you only study what you don’t already know — or perhaps don’t have to study at all.

There are many ways that Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is assessed, with a range of evidence types that can help prove your existing knowledge. For many people this will look like a portfolio of your work or recorded direct evidence of you working or completing a task. This means that the skills and experience you learn on-the-job are ideal for putting towards RPL. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to get Recognition of Prior Learning:

What counts towards your Recognition of Prior Learning?

In accordance with the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF), the national policy that regulates education in Australia, all students are entitled to have their previous experience, skills, and training recognised to assist their progression into and between qualifications.

Providing evidence of your previous experience and skills to your RTO of choice is how you get Recognition of Prior Learning.

There are many types of evidence that can count towards your RPL, including:

  • Evidence of on-the-job experience and skills
  • Work history with description of responsibilities
  • Previous certificates and training you have received
  • Any workshops you have taken part in through work
  • Non-formal courses undertaken, such as first aid
  • Licences, such as for working with children
  • Membership to any Associations and the member criteria
  • References from previous employers
  • Evidence from Internships or volunteer work
  • Other documents that showcase your skills and experience

What you can do with RPL

Not only does RPL give you access to qualifications and certifications that will benefit your career, they can also be a stepping stone to further educational opportunities. At OPEC College, we offer higher education pathways to students, allowing you to go from a Diploma to a Degree at one of our partner universities. 

Macleay College and Southern Cross University have both partnered with OPEC College to create study pathways for graduates, allowing them to take their learning further and achieve high qualifications. This means that students have greater opportunities to advance their career and skills and get access to higher education placements that they might not have before.

Not only can RPL assist in further educational opportunities, it gives students the perfect stepping stone for advancing or pivoting their careers. Having a formalised qualification can help secure positions in areas that you may not have worked in before and can also help you to move into more advanced, senior positions within your industry. The possibilities are endless. 

There are many other benefits of RPL — both personal and professional — including:

Benefits of RPL

  • Saves you time and money by reducing the amount of training needed to achieve a formal qualification.
  • Can improve workplace productivity by reducing the time an employee needs to be away from their job attending formal training.
  • Enables skill recognition for those who have limited formal training or qualifications, as well as re-engaging those who have left formal education. This could include students who have had limited access to post-school training but have developed skills on the job. 
  • Fosters closer links between training providers and industry, and therefore between students and industry.
  • Can improve self-esteem and motivation in students, as having existing skills recognised formally can make students see themselves more positively and even provide motivation for further study.

These are just some of the benefits outlined by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Another key benefit is that RPL gives more access for “non-traditional” students, particularly those who haven’t had an opportunity to complete further study, allowing them to achieve nationally recognised qualifications that can support greater job opportunities.

For this reason, RPL certifications can be broadly accessible for a range of students, and recognises key learning that happens in the workplace.

Why OPEC College?

Regardless of your employment or study background, our team is here to assist you in achieving the qualification of your choice through RPL. We streamline the process, providing you with support, clear communication, comprehensive assessment and training excellence.

Whether you want to transition into a new career or advance your current one, we are here to help you reach your goals. If you want to find out more about our simple five-step RPL process you can learn more on our Recognition of Prior Learning page or by calling us on 1300 99 6732. 

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What do our students say about us? 

During July 2022, some 30 members of our Alumni answered the call and completed an online survey which asked a series of questions about their experience with OPEC College.