Skills recognition means that the skills and knowledge you already have through formal or informal learning may count towards a nationally recognised qualification or statement of attainment. You might also hear skills recognition called Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL.
To have your skills recognised you need to get a formal assessment. A Comtech Training qualified TITAB registered assessor will evaluate and consider your evidence of:
- Paid or unpaid work in Australia or overseas
- On-the-job training
- Other qualifications from Australia or overseas
- Carrier training
- Community or voluntary work
If your skills are recognised, you may be able to decrease the length of time for your studies. In some cases, you may get 100 percent recognition of your qualification, meaning you would not have to study at all.
However, in some situations it is quicker and easier to actually complete the course than to spend the time collecting and preparing evidence. By completing the course, you may also learn new or updated procedures that can benefit your work practices.
Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
To assist you in applying for RPL, please see the following information.
1. The RPL Process
Firstly, you need to know what qualification you would like recognition for. You can view the range of qualifications Comtech Training offers under the Qualifications menu on our website.
Once you have selected your qualification, you need to enrol in that qualification and complete the RPL Application Form advising of which competencies you wish to apply for RPL for. You need to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate your skills and prior knowledge and then be assessed against the requirements of the qualification.
Our assessors will assess your RPL and advise you of what credit you will receive. This may reduce the time taken to achieve your qualification.
If you have previously done some formal studies, we may be able to give you credit for it in your new qualification. If your previous study and your new course are both nationally recognised training within Australia, it should be easy to claim credit transfer.
If you have any questions or issues, please contact us and one of our assessors will be able to offer you guidance about the RPL process and eligibility.
2. Tips to help with compiling your application
Do show reasons why you believe you are competent, e.g. “I have been hauling cables for two years. I believe I am competent because I finish my tasks on time, I have a strong record on working safely and I follow plans precisely. Evidence of this is contained in my supervisor’s report, which is Item 1 in my portfolio”
Don’t assume you’re competent simply because you have been doing the job for a long time, e.g. “I have been hauling cables for two years, my tasks include rodding conduits, preparing cables, using tools and equipment and carrying out hauling activities”
Do use examples to show you are competent, e.g. “Before I begin a training session, I ensure that all computer wires are taped to the floor. When training begins, I always let people know where the fire exits are and I advise them to drink water during the session”
Don’t just say you are competent without giving any examples, e.g. “I am very aware of Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) issues and I try to keep the workplace safe at all times”
Do get external support for your examples and wherever possible, back up your claims with reports from supervisors, including videos, photos, job sheets or maybe even awards, qualifications or newsletter items.
3. Costs associated with the RPL Process
Preparing the evidence for your RPL application will take some time. The responsibility for gathering the evidence lies with you. The more preparation you do, the less time the application will take.
The cost of RPL is the same as the cost of the course you are applying for. Once your RPL evidence has been submitted and our assessor accepts that the requirements for the unit have been met, you will be marked as competent. Should you not be able to meet the requirements of the particular unit with the evidence that you have provided, you will be required to complete gap assessment. Arrangements will be made for you to attend one of our training venues to complete the gap assessment.
Frequently asked questions about RPL
Evidence can take many forms, including:
- Samples, photographs or videos of your work
- Practical ‘on the job’ assessment
- Answers to questions in an interview with your assessor
- Simulation of a work activity
- Letters of validation from employers
- Performance management reports
- Copies of documents completed at work
- Other Certificates
A Comtech Training assessor will be able to assist you in determining what evidence you require, but it is up to you to be proactive in putting it all together. This can take some time to organise. When the time comes to collect evidence in support of your application, you will need to apply the four rules of Evidence for Skills Recognition.
Evidence must be:
- Current – This ensures it relates to current practice and legislation. Evidence needs to show that you have been doing the task(s), preferably within the last 2 years, although in certain circumstances we will recognise evidence up to 5 years
- Authentic – It must be your own work and we must be able to verify its’ authenticity
- Valid – It must be related to the qualification in question
- Sufficient – There must be enough evidence to cover all components of the qualification
The evidence you submit must demonstrate to our assessor that you already have the skills and knowledge to meet the Australian industry standard.
Working out what skills you have, what qualification you should work towards and what evidence you can collect to support your application can be daunting.
However, once you have a good understanding of the process, you will be in a better position to make skills recognition work for you. It is worth taking some time to prepare a detailed resume, as this will be required as part of the recognition process. In general, we can tell you what direction to take from your resume.
Although you can apply for recognition at any time, it is best to do it at the time of enrolment.
We generally try to complete applications within four weeks; however this will depend on how well you have prepared your evidence. Higher level qualifications (Diplomas & Advanced Diplomas) may take longer due to the level and depth of the evidence required.
If you have evidence to show you can demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed, the minimum recognition is one unit of competency and the maximum is a full qualification.
If you can’t find written documentation to support your recognition claim towards your chosen qualification, you can use other means of evidence, for example a practical demonstration, taxation records, newsletters, or photos or videos etc. How you chose to demonstrate your skills is not as important as the actual skills themselves.
If you are currently working, we may include an assessment interview, or we may require you to complete a challenge test, as part of the assessment process.
We may also undertake a workplace assessment, which is beneficial as you are in your own workplace, where all of your evidence is available at your fingertips. However, please note, there are additional charges for a workplace assessment and you will need approval from your employer to have our assessor come on site.
The best kind of evidence is timely evidence. The evidence you submit needs to reflect the skills and experience you have recently acquired or used.
If there have been significant changes to legislation or common practice in your area of expertise, you may need to update your skills before getting assessed.
One common trap that people seeking skills recognition fall into, is collecting too much information, or more specifically too much of the wrong kind of information. The best way to overcome this is to firstly select the qualification you are aiming for, identify the core and elective units you want to do and then address your evidence specifically and systematically to those units.
That way you only collect the right kind of evidence, which will allow us to help you meet your goals quickly and correctly. Once you have selected your qualification and units, we can then provide you with evidence collection sheets pertaining to those units.
Yes, evidence you have created yourself or that which you can demonstrate is the most valuable kind of evidence. While our assessors can use references as a guide, primary evidence created directly by you is the best kind of evidence.
You may have work documents at home, which you can submit or perhaps you can demonstrate your skills in your new workplace or in a demonstration workshop.
You may have trouble finding out the subject details of a course you have studied in the past, especially if you studied some time ago or completed a qualification in another country. The first thing to consider is whether or not it is worth trying to track this information down at all. In many cases it will not be.
If you studied 10 years ago for example, your coursework may no longer be relevant simply because of the time gap, technological changes, or other changes to governing legislation. Areas such as Work, Health and Safety (WHS), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have changed significantly in the past 6 or 7 years, due to legislative changes or technological developments. In some cases, core skills such as basic electrical skills may be recognised, if it was a course you did that was completed longer than five years ago.
Recent work experience and applying what you have learned from that study, will be a much better way of demonstrating that you can meet the current standards needed for competency.
Occasionally some people who go through the skills recognition process say they feel they are being asked to prove they can do their jobs. It is important to remember that skills recognition is not a judgement of your abilities, nor is it designed to demean or belittle your work experience.
Instead, skills recognition provides a “measuring stick” approach that can be applied to all people working in particular skill areas and areas of expertise. The more work experience you have, the more confident you can be that your skills and experience will match a qualification.
In general yes, unless we advise you otherwise. It is however, prudent to keep up with your studies in case your recognition proves unsuccessful.