Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), experience and skills

What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process used by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) like the CWS Learning Institute to evaluate a person’s skills, knowledge and experience gained in the workplace or through life experience.  Evidence is mapped into a current nationally recognised unit of competency or full qualifications.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) define RPL as: “Recognition of prior learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.”

Some important questions we can help you answer include:

How do new employers understand my previous experience and translate recognisable skills?

What options are available to me?

How much recognition will I get for my skills or knowledge?

RPL is a way to recognise the knowledge and skills you have gained through service, community and life experiences.

Steps for RPL


You will need to show one of our assessors, by providing appropriate evidence, that you have the required skills and industry knowledge to be formally recognised for a national qualification.  We are here to help step you through the preparation and process.  This will ensure we fully understand your background and avoid over or under training.  

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Take the time to speak with an assessor about what qualifications you want to apply for and career options.  To make sure your work and education history is translated into the right set of matching qualifications, CWS will support you through the application process.  We will then match the evidence supplied to the qualifications.  

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When you submit your application we will review the response.  If you meet the standards, you could be awarded a nationally recognised qualification, or you may be required to complete some gap-training to ensure you are ready.  This process is always unique to the individual and the skills you use in the workplace.

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While shorter than taking a full course

RPL is not a short cut to gaining a full qualification.

RPL is a way to formally recognise the knowledge and skills you have gained through employment, community and life experiences as well as formal and informal study. It may provide national recognition of the skills you use in your job role, and validate the learning you have already acquired; it might simply reaffirm the skills you inherently know you hold. The national units of competency and qualifications represent the skills standards for each industry sector. 

Want to learn more?

Speak with us today and we can help you with the process and get you to where you want to be.