How RPL Central works
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To attain a career improving qualification, you would normally have to attend a TAFE or other training organisation. You would study for a number of years and by the end of your course you would have developed the skills that you need for your chosen career. But what if you've done things the other way round - what if you have the skills but not the qualification? RPL enables you to have these skills recognised and to attain a formal qualification: you will get the same qualification as people who've trained first. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that involves assessment of the individuals' relevant prior learning to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit. RPL assesses the individuals' non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards for entry to, and/or partial or total completion of, a qualification. 

The RPL Principles for Good Practice require that RPL recognise learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided that the learning is relevant and current to the learning outcomes or competencies in a subject, unit, module, course or qualification. RPL has always differed to other forms of assessment, in that it is based both around an individual and the competency being assessed. Therefore, it would be improper to prescribe specific evidence format requirements in an RPL only environment. Professional judgement is used to make an assessment decision as to the individuals' demonstrated equivalency, regardless of the format of the evidence supplied.

RPL assessment must ensure that evidence is valid, authentic, current and sufficient and that the process is fair, flexible reliable and valid. In order to provide the flexibility to candidates, we can contextualise the RPL assessment instruments to match each individuals' unique background, prior-learning requirements. This occurs through a series of structured procedures that provide a personalised experience to the candidate, whilst still meeting the principles of assessment and rules of evidence requirements.

Accordingly, there is no 'one size fits all instrument that can be used to assess an individual with any background, who produces any kind of documentary evidence. This is why RPL Central employs the flexibility of the AQTF outcome-focussed model to demonstrate that the outcomes of the AQTF/NVR standards are met to the same if not better levels required via an individualised and personalised RPL process that considers life experience.

The outcomes are met by following a structured and individualised process which provides for quality assessment against both the individual and the training package. Guidance is provided throughout the process to contextualise the requirements of the training package inside the assessment instruments to ensure the services meet the individuals' unique needs and prior learning requirements.

In 2009, RPL Central obtained IP Australia certification in an innovation patent relating to the tools it has developed. RPL Central  has also supported the RPL initiatives promoted by the various state and commonwealth governments. RPL Central attended the (Sydney) Big Skills Conference 09 and (Perth) Exploring good practice in RPL conference 09, as well as hosting its own (Sydney) Skills Recognition Conference in 2009. They have also been a great supporter of the COAG RPL Program. This program found that innovative RPL models need to be developed and that they should focus on recognising the individual needs and diverse backgrounds of candidates.

They also found that assessors need to be confident and capable of making sound professional judgments and noted this as a critical factor in the assessment of RPL. The Department of Education and Training in Western Australia have also contributed greatly to the uptake of RPL over the years. Their position is that for RPL, no difference is assigned to informal or non-formal learning. Every learning source and experience is accepted as contributing to the accumulation of skills.

Therefore, the flexible RPL model was developed. The model allows for assessment of any and all documentary evidence as well as verbal or third party testimony to be presented by an individual, no matter where it originated, or how it is conveyed. All evidence is assessed for equivalence against the full unit of competency to provide for a valid assessment outcome. There are no pre-set evidence requirements to demonstrate equivalence, as this is determined on a case by case basis once the assessor can make a judgment about the evidence submitted in the context of the particular individuals' life experience. Formal assessment occurs once you have finalised your portfolio , finished an RPL Central assessment from our qualified engaged assessor, and transferred to the RTO/TAFE. Talk to the RTO you are connected with about the flexible options they can offer you.

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