Evidence of prior learning
In order to gain recognition of prior learning (RPL) qualifications, you will first need to provide evidence you have acquired the relevant skills. During your RPL programme, the registered training organisation (RTO) will give you advice on what you need to do. They will be able to tailor their advice for you specifically and, as official suppliers of qualifications recognised by both industry and the Australian government, will make sure your previous experience is up to scratch. This guide will help you understand how they will transfer your skills and knowledge into recognised qualifications.
It is likely representatives of your RTO will want to meet you and discuss your experience and what skills you have. They may also interview you to see how you react to questioning about the skills you claim to have. Some RTOs even ask applicants for RPL to undergo written tests to determine the extent of their knowledge.
Observations of practical tasks
As well as asking you questions, it is likely an assessor will want to watch you undertake tasks, to prove you are capable of doing them. It is also possible they will ask you to talk through what you are doing and why. This assessment can take place in a classroom or workplace or even a simulated environment.
Examination of finished products
Assessors may also ask for samples of your finished work to make sure you have the skills necessary for the qualifications you want. This may mean showing off work you have done previously or the assessor travelling to examine it themselves. This is more likely to be a requirement for those working in certain trades – such as carpentry and brick laying, for example – which require applicants to produce tangible results when working.
It is worth mentioning to your assessor if you have any audio-visual evidence of your skills. This may well allow you to save time when it comes to taking part in the RPL programme, and will definitively prove you can do certain aspects of the work. Some fields are more likely to lend themselves to this; few people have extensive recordings of themselves at work but those in certain technical industries may do so.
Presentations by you
A presentation could be a great way for you to show what you can do to an assessor at an RTO. It will allow you to discuss in detail what skills you have acquired and how. It is a particularly useful tool for the early stages of the RPO process, when the assessor wants to get a general idea about your skills and experience. Don’t be put off by this! Loads of people hate public speaking, but it is simply a way for the RTO to get a better idea about you and will usually only be done in front of an audience of one or two people.
Third party reports
Corroborative evidence from past employers, colleagues, assessors and teachers is useful when trying to prove you have the necessary skills to perform tasks, particularly if those people themselves have recognised qualifications. Most assessors will ask whom they can contact to verify your claims – think of it like having a reference for a job. Remember, the more people who can bear witness to your skills, the quicker the whole process becomes.
You may have completed training in the past, planned for projects or even written reports. All this documentary evidence will be of use to your assessor. It will help them gain a better idea about your experience.
If you or your assessor can think of anything else which might prove you have necessary skills, it is worth bringing it to the table. Remember, the more evidence you have, the easier it will be to get recognised qualifications.
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