Recognition of prior learning (rpl) claims for work health and safety qualifications recognition of prior learning rpl claims

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) claims for Work Health and Safety Qualifications

Every day at HBA we receive numerous RPL claims for:

Many of the claims we receive do not stand up to the rigour we are required to apply when we assess such claims and we thought you might like to know why that is.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit

A Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is required to securely retain and produce in full at audit, all completed learner assessment items for each learner, for a period of 6 months from the date on which the judgement of competence for the learner was made. During the RPL assessment we initially match up your position description with your resume and your letter of employment. This validates your role and the right to submit resources from a particular organisation. Our next step is to consider each piece of evidence against the mapping document you provide which shows all required components for each Unit of Competency within a qualification. Now this might sound like it is an easy task but it is not and it is common for a Diploma level RPL assessment to take 4 hours or more of undivided attention.

One of the more common problems we observe occurs where a Learner will submit (say) a WHS safety policy. The policy itself will often have the name of a very well known, publicly listed company and it will be ‘bullet proof’ in terms of its content, method and process. More often than not there is no way we can tie the RPL applicant into the particular resource as their name is not on it. Often the policy is ‘inherited’ by the position holder thus we need to see evidence of the use, recommendations for enhancements and reports on the policy.

In Vocational Training and Education there are Rules of Evidence and if something submitted does not align with the 4 rules then it is simply not evidence.


What role did you play in the design, enhancement and use of the tool, instrument or resource? We need evidence of this, 3rd party reports, internal memos, emails feedback, detailed samples etc.


Evidence loses its veracity as it ages. Anything over 5 years of age is no longer current thus it is most likely not evidence. We do note that in some circumstances the life of evidence can be extended by professional use and professional development.


Evidence has quality and we will require more than 1 piece if the assessor doesn’t determine what you have sent as compelling. This comes to the fore when we are considering 3rd party reports.


What you send must directly relate to the element it is trying to prove. If we want evidence of your communicating how to assess risk and you send us a report showing a risk assessment outcome then it is not valid because it does not prove anything other than an audit has been conducted and a result has been determined.

Recognition of Prior Learning is a valid way of determining whether you can receive credit for that which you already know or can do but from the perspective of the RTO, it is a very exacting science and, as I always say to our assessors “if in doubt say no”.

Evidence is defined as “something that can be detected by one or more of the senses that proves a point”. Make sure you prove all the points when applying for RPL.

Harold Baldry