RPL in VET: more complex than it seems

Media release

23 June 2020

Only a small proportion of Australian vocational education and training (VET) students are granted recognition of prior learning (RPL) each year and the use of RPL in VET is decreasing, according to a new report released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report Exploring the recognition of prior learning in Australian VET also shows that while RPL can save time and money for individuals and businesses, it can be costly and difficult for VET providers to offer in practice.

“Recognition of prior learning is an important mechanism for people with pre-existing skills to gain formal recognition without having to undergo the traditional training process,” said Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.

“Apart from saving time and money for students, it can also contribute to their self-esteem and productivity.

“However, training providers often find it expensive and difficult to offer.”

The report uses NCVER data to describe the current system for granting RPL in Australian VET and explores from a variety of perspectives the nature and types of RPL currently being granted.

It also includes an analysis of factors that affect the likelihood of RPL being granted to a student.

“There don’t appear to be any strong individual predictors for a student being granted RPL, as it is a complex interplay of many different factors including a student’s employment status, field of study, and level of program,” Mr Walker said.

“Of particular interest are the areas where most RPL is taking place, including a small number of niche qualifications that are being issued almost entirely using RPL”

“For example, over 90% of some specific qualifications in government, public safety and security and risk management were completed entirely through the recognition of a student’s prior learning, skills and experience.”

Exploring the recognition of prior learning in Australian VET is now available on the NCVER Portal.

Media enquiries: Helen Wildash, PR and Social Media Officer M: 0448 043 148 E: helenwildash@ncver.edu.au

About NCVER: we are the principal provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy-makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department for Education, Skills and Employment.