The Recognition of Prior Learning approach acknowledges that candidates may have gained appropriate knowledge, understanding, and skills during their previous work experience (paid or unpaid), be it in Australia or further afield. It also takes into consideration any competencies the individual will have developed as a result of engaging in learning experiences in Australia or overseas. RTOs take into consideration an individual’s existing skills and knowledge as acquired in a practical, non-formal or formal learning setting as a means of assessing whether that person can demonstrate the required competencies associated with the relevant Australian standards. This process is referred to as recognition of prior learning.
For example, someone who has spent many years working as a PA within an office setting will have developed many skills that are considered to be part of a qualification in business administration. Previous work experience in a garage may have provided someone with competencies that are relevant to a qualification in mechanics. In some cases, previous work, voluntary and learning experiences may not be sufficient to provide an individual will a full recognition of prior learning. However, the competencies he or she has gained can be used as credit towards units of competency and may reduce the amount of time or the number of modules a student is required to complete a qualification.