Who Is Eligible for RPL?


Who Is Eligible for RPL?

Have you been looking for a way to get your previous work experience formalised? Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process that acknowledges the skills and knowledge individuals have gained outside formal education—transforming experience into recognised qualifications. 

This guide delves into how RPL eligibility works, the types of experiences it recognises, eligibility criteria, and the application process, providing a comprehensive look into how you can leverage your learning and experience for formal recognition.

How RPL Works

The RPL process is designed to assess and credit individuals for learning achieved before attempting a formal qualification. Here’s how it generally unfolds:

Assessment by Qualified Assessors  

Candidates submit evidence of their knowledge and skills gained through various means, which could include resumes, job descriptions, performance reviews, and relevant certifications.

Review of Evidence  

RPL assessors examine the submitted documentation to determine if the candidate’s existing skills and knowledge meet the criteria for the desired qualification.

Types of Learning Eligible for RPL

RPL recognises three main types of learning:

Formal Learning  

This includes structured, accredited education and training programs such as degrees and diplomas from recognised institutions.

Informal Learning  

Skills acquired through life experiences, work roles that lasted a minimum of 4 years, and personal activities that are not formally recognised in traditional educational settings with evident proof.

Non-Formal Learning  

Education that occurs through unstructured or non-accredited workshops, seminars, and training sessions.

Eligibility Criteria for RPL

To qualify for RPL, candidates must generally meet several criteria:

Educational Background  

A minimum educational requirement, at least till Year 10, is often necessary.

Work Experience  

Applicants may need to show relevant work experience in the field corresponding to the qualification.

Specific criteria may also apply, such as industry-specific requirements, necessary certifications, and evidence of certain skills and competencies.

Application Process for RPL

The path to achieving RPL involves several steps:

Initial Consultation  

Potential candidates discuss their eligibility and the RPL process with an advisor.

Submission of Evidence  

Candidates gather and submit proof of prior learning and experience.

Skill Assessment  

Assessors review the evidence, which may include conducting interviews or practical tests to gauge the applicant’s competencies.


Candidates receive feedback and learn whether they have met the requirements for the qualification.

Required Documentation and Evidence

Applicants need to provide a range of documentation, including:

  • Resume: Showcasing relevant work experience and skills.
  • Job Descriptions: Detailing roles and responsibilities held.
  • Certificates: Demonstrating completed training and education.
  • References: Letters supporting the applicant’s skills, typically from employers or professional colleagues.

Assessment Methods

Assessors may employ various methods to evaluate an applicant’s readiness for qualification:

  • Interviews: To better understand the applicant’s experiences and skills.
  • Practical Tests: Assess hands-on capabilities in a controlled setting.
  • Portfolio Reviews: Examine a compilation of work evidence and documents provided by the candidate.

Benefits of RPL

For Individuals:

  • Saving Time and Money: Accelerates the journey to obtaining a qualification by bypassing redundant training.
  • Career Advancement: Helps in securing promotions or exploring new job opportunities.
  • Personal Satisfaction: Offers recognition and validation of professional competencies and life experiences.

For Employers:

  • Workforce Development: Identifies and hones existing skills within the organisation.
  • Skills Recognition: Boosts morale and job satisfaction by recognising employee skills formally.
  • Improved Productivity: Qualifications help align employee capabilities with organisational goals more effectively.

Challenges and Solutions in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The RPL process, while beneficial, can present several challenges for applicants. Here are common hurdles and strategic solutions to help navigate these issues effectively:

Gathering Sufficient Documentation

  • Challenge: Applicants often struggle to compile enough evidence that adequately demonstrates their skills and experiences.
  • Solution: Create a detailed list of all potential sources of evidence before starting the application process. Maintain a portfolio or a digital archive of work samples, certificates, and references over the years to streamline the collection process when needed.

Meeting Specific Criteria

  • Challenge: Some applicants may struggle to align their informal or non-formal learning experiences with the specific competencies required by the qualification frameworks.
  • Solution: Seek guidance from RPL advisors at Gimbal Training in the relevant field who can help interpret experiences in the context of specific criteria. Participate in workshops or training sessions aimed at bridging gaps in formal competencies.

Understanding the RPL Process

  • Challenge: The RPL process can be complex and daunting, especially for those unfamiliar with the criteria and assessment methods.
  • Solution: Utilise resources offered by RPL providers, such as information sessions, detailed guides, and consultation services. Clear, step-by-step explanations can help demystify the process and encourage more applicants to engage.

Preparing for Assessments

  • Challenge: Some applicants may feel underprepared for interviews or practical tests, which can affect their confidence and performance.
  • Solution: Conduct mock interviews and practice tests with peers or mentors. Review previous work experiences and relevant scenarios to be ready to discuss them thoroughly during assessments.

Time Management

  • Challenge: The process of compiling and submitting RPL applications can be time-consuming, especially for those with current work and personal commitments.
  • Solution: Develop a timeline for completing the RPL application, setting realistic goals and deadlines for each stage of the process. Breaking the task into smaller, manageable steps can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Assessing Your Existing Skills and Knowledge

Assessing your skills involves a reflective and thorough inventory of your professional experiences, education, and informal learning. Start by listing your job roles, responsibilities, projects, and any training sessions attended. Match these against the competency standards of the qualification you aim to achieve through RPL. 

This self-assessment will help identify gaps and strengthen your application by clearly demonstrating how your experiences align with qualification requirements.

Creating Your Portfolio

A well-organised portfolio is crucial in the RPL process. It should include evidence of your work experience, educational records, references, and any certificates or awards. 

Organise your portfolio to correspond directly with the competencies and criteria of your desired qualification. Make sure to include detailed descriptions and documentation that substantiate your experiences, such as project summaries, performance reviews, and professional development activities. 

Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how to get started.

RPL for Migrants in Australia

For migrants in Australia, RPL offers a significant opportunity to recognise qualifications and experiences from their home countries. It helps bridge the gap between their existing skills and the Australian standards required for employment. Understanding the specific requirements and available support services, such as translation and counselling, is crucial for successfully navigating the RPL process in a new country.


Is RPL Relevant to Your Industry?

RPL is highly versatile and relevant across a broad spectrum of industries, including construction, technology, and business services. It is particularly beneficial in fields where practical experience often surpasses formal education in terms of day-to-day operations. 

For industries that see rapid technological changes or where skilled labour shortages are prevalent, RPL can be a crucial tool in recognising and formalising skills that are acquired on the job or through non-traditional means.

What Qualification Are You Looking For?

Determining the right qualification depends on your career goals, industry standards, and current skills. It’s essential to research which qualifications are respected and required in your field. Consider the roles you aspire to and identify qualifications that align with these positions. Consult with industry bodies, educational institutions, and career advisors to ensure the qualifications you seek through RPL will support your professional advancement.

How Much Experience Do You Need for RPL?

The amount of experience required for RPL qualifications can vary widely depending on the qualification and the specific criteria set by the accrediting body. 

Typically, you would need to demonstrate several years of relevant work experience that correlates directly with the competencies and learning outcomes of the qualification you are seeking. This might range from three to five years for advanced qualifications but less for certificates or diplomas.