RPL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is RPL?

RPL is a process in which the experience, skills, training and knowledge that you have built up in your career can be converted to nationally recognised qualifications. These qualifications are exactly the same as those awarded through studying.

Getting qualifications through RPL means that you don’t have to sit in a classroom and learn about things you already know. Instead, you can just show evidence that you’ve covered it in your work.

A lot of important learning happens while you’re on the job, not just when you’re sitting in a classroom. This sort of experiential learning is just as valid, and deserves to be acknowledged. What better way to do it than by getting a qualification?

Why do people get RPL?

People get qualifications through RPL for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • To satisfy licensing or regulatory requirements within an industry
  • To validate and consolidate skills acquired through experience
  • To provide proof of abilities when going for a promotion
  • To convert skills into a generalised format so they can be transferred to different industries
  • To gain a measure of what level qualification your abilities equate to
  • To cite as evidence of your currency in an area in order to train others
  • To convert overseas qualifications and/or experience into Australian qualifications

What is the difference between RPL and credit transfer?

Credit transfer applies if you have already completed a particular unit within a course. In order to receive credit, you’ll need to provide a statement of attainment or a transcript that shows the unit as completed. If it was some time ago that you studied, one or more of the units you studied may have been superseded. This means that they have been updated, and you need to complete the unit again.

Recognition of Prior Learning applies if you haven’t studied the unit previously, or if you have but it’s been superseded, and you have sufficient experience in that particular area to prove you don’t need to study it again. If you think you could be eligible for a credit transfer, we can help you with this.

What industries can people get RPL in?

RPL can apply to a wide variety of industries.  We award qualifications to people in government, mining, Defence, emergency services and throughout the private sector. We offer qualifications through RPL in the areas of government and investigations, management and leadership, business, security and risk, WHS, training, community and youth work, counselling, early childhood, education and finance.

What’s involved in WESTBOURNE’S RPL process?

  1. We conduct a free preliminary skills assessment and give you a report
  2. You tell us the qualifications you want to go ahead with and provide evidence
  3. You receive nationally recognised qualifications!

Let’s step this out a bit more:

Step 1. We conduct a free preliminary skills assessment and give you a report.
The RPL process begins with a conversation with one of our Skills Advisors.

  • You tell us what you’re looking for and where you want to go
  • You provide a few easily accessible documents
  • You’ll be sent a report within 48 hours. This will include a breakdown of costs involved and lists the qualifications:
    • You could be eligible for right now
    • You could be eligible for with a little more online gap training.

This is cost-free and obligation-free.

Step 2. You tell us the qualifications you want and provide evidence.
You can make an informed decision about which qualifications are best for you and your career. Once this is confirmed, we can complete the process.

  • We tell you exactly what evidence we need to establish your competency in the units that make up a qualification.
  • You provide your evidence, then you can sit back and relax!
  • We match the evidence to the units. This is called mapping. Other providers may get you to do this yourself.

Step 3. You receive nationally recognised qualifications!
Congratulations! Your experience has been validated and translated into nationally recognised qualifications.

  • To save you time, we submit all the paperwork to the government for you. This formalises your qualifications.
  • You receive your qualifications though both email and post, within 14 days for most qualifications.

Are the qualifications official?

Yes. WESTBOURNE COLLEGE is a Registered Training Organisation #41084. This means that we are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Australian Government regulatory body for the VET sector.

The qualifications that we offer are nationally recognised, and issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Accordingly, they’re exactly the same as those granted by other educational institutions such as TAFE.

How much does it cost?

Qualifications through RPL range in price get in touch with us for our prices.

Do I need to pay upfront?

Payment options are available if you’d like to spread out the cost of your qualification into fortnightly repayments.

How much experience do I need to have to be eligible for RPL?

A minimum of six months of experience is necessary for Certificate-level qualifications, and more substantive experience is required for Diploma-level qualifications, or higher. The time spent in a role is just one factor to consider when calculating eligibility for RPL – the nature of the experience is just as important. Work and life experience, volunteer work and formal and informal training can contribute to your portfolio of evidence for qualifications through RPL.

How do I prove what skills and knowledge I have?

In order to prove that the skills and knowledge that you’ve gained through your experience are sufficient to qualify you for RPL, you’ll need to show evidence of them. This evidence documents how you have covered the content of the units within a qualification, in your working life.

Read below about onsite assessment as a method of assessing experience.

What sort of evidence do I need to produce?

Here are some types of evidence someone could provide for RPL. The types of evidence required depend on the qualification someone is seeking, and there are specific lists for each qualification.

  • Position descriptions
  • Academic transcripts, qualifications and statements of attainment
  • Internal training documents
  • Documentation that reflects your role such as budget plans and projections, operational plans, risk management plans, training needs analysis reports
  • Documentation such as staff rosters, policy and procedure documents you have written or contributed to
  • Minutes of meetings you have chaired or participated in
  • Compliance records
  • Task lists
  • Power Point presentations
  • Observations from your workplace
  • Performance review/ staff appraisal documents
  • Incident reports
  • Any relevant licenses

Can RPL qualifications give me credit towards university studies?

Many people who have gained qualifications with WESTBORNE COLLEGE have used them to gain credit towards further education, including Bachelor degrees or Masters at university. All nationally recognised qualifications can be used for credit transfer. Most universities state that the amount of credit granted depends on the specific application of an individual.

How do I know which qualifications I could get?

The first step in the RPL process is a preliminary assessment to determine which qualifications you could be eligible for, provided you have the requisite evidence. This is free and we don’t need a full suite of evidence at this stage – just a current position description and a resume. It’s always good to know what your options are. Then, if you progress, we can advise you on obtaining the evidence you need.

What if I want to know what quals I could get but don’t want to go ahead with them right now?

That’s fine. The preliminary assessment is obligation-free, meaning that you may or may not choose to proceed with one or more qualifications once you get your results. We do provide guidance about which qualifications are the best fit for the career path you intend to pursue, and if we can’t help you with certain qualifications, we can point you in the direction of someone who can.

How is WESTBOURNE COLLEGE different to other providers?

At WESTBOURNE COLLEGE, we are:

  • Reputable – we have built a reputation for quality and integrity over more than ten years
  • Efficient – we understand the importance of streamlining the RPL process
  • Honest – we are upfront about costs and we won’t try and sell you unnecessary training
  • Transparent – we are open about our process and believe it stands up to scrutiny
  • Customer-focused – we ask you what you want and are guided by you.
  • Reliable – we keep lines of communication open and are easy to contact by phone or email.

My experience is from overseas, can I still get qualifications in Australia?

The Australian Government provides a service for international students to have their overseas tertiary qualifications recognised https://internationaleducation.gov.au/services-and-resources/pages/qualifications-recognition.aspx.

An RTO can consider experience gained from overseas when evaluating an application for RPL. Evidence must be validated in the same way as evidence produced form within Australia.

Why is there a five-year cut-off for relevant experience?

When it comes to proving that you are experienced enough in certain areas to meet the requirements of a qualification, we have to abide by certain criteria. These are set by the federal government, specifically, ASQA (the Australian Skills Quality Authority). The criteria for the evidence that can be submitted in an RPL application is:

  • Validity
  • Sufficiency
  • Authenticity
  • Currency

It’s this last one, currency, which applies to the time frame for evidence. To meet the currency rule of evidence, the federal government requires that experience must be within the last five years to be admissible. The reasoning behind this is that industry practices and regulations are updated frequently. To maintain the high standard of qualifications awarded through RPL, they must remain up-to-date, too. This gives both the holders of a qualification and potential employers confidence in the credibility and timeliness of that qualification.

Is it hard to get RPL qualifications? Do I have to do a lot of work?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about RPL. When you work with certain providers, RPL can be very complicated and time-consuming. However, if you choose to work with Churchill, it will not be hard. Other providers may ask you to do the complicated mapping part of the process, in which you match your experience and skills to units within a qualification. We do that for you. We tell you exactly what evidence we need, and complete the process once you’ve provided it. RPL is only hard if you try to do it alone. With the right help, it’s easy.

Can I claim RPL qualifications on my tax return?

While we can’t offer official taxation advice, we can say that you may be able to claim the cost of qualifications achieved through RPL as a self-education expense. Seek further advice on this by speaking to your accountant or the Australian Tax Office. There is also more information available on the ATO website here. We’ve also had many customers take advantage of their tax refunds by using those sums to pay for RPL qualifications – and of course, we think education is always a good investment!

What is an onsite assessment (as pertaining to RPL)?

An onsite assessment is when an assessor visits the student in their workplace and observes them undertaking their regular work. While observing them, the assessor will be collecting evidence which can be used in the RPL process. This is a method of producing evidence towards a qualification that can be an alternative to producing documentation, if suitable. Conditions apply.

What is RCC (Recognition of Current Competencies)?

RCC refers to the assessment of a person’s current capacity to perform. It applies if an individual has previously successfully completed the requirements for a unit of competency or a module and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

RPL/RCC tend to be used interchangeably.