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Education and training

Recognition of prior learning case studies

Want a qualification? You don’t have to start from the beginning!

Even if you have progressed well in your work and have rich and valuable life and work experience you can sometimes see your career stalling or certain jobs unavailable because you do not a have a qualification. The thought of starting at the beginning and working through a qualification, degree or trades training when there are full time work and family commitments can be off-putting. This is where recognition of prior learning can help.

RPL can help you gain formal recognition for the skills and knowledge you may already have.

RPL is an assessment process that assesses the skills and knowledge you have gained through your work experience, studies and life experiences. The assessment process determines the extent to which you have achieved the required competencies of a qualification.

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Here’s how the RPL process works

You undergo the assessment process – usually by documenting experiences that prove skills and knowledge, with the assistance of a qualified assessor.

Your work and/or experience may prove you can demonstrate all the skills of a graduate or tradesperson in a particular degree or trade – in fact many mature workers can demonstrate higher levels than this. If this is the case then you may be awarded the complete qualification.

If the assessment process finds you are missing some skills or knowledge, and can only be awarded a partial completion - then it is up to you to finish the job.   

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Trade qualifications – an example

Here is an example of how the process works for a trade qualification.

RPL - An example of how the process works for a Trade qualification 

Example
Barry, a trades worker with a strong welding work history first requested an application form to find out whether he had the required skills for the AQF Certificate 111 in Engineering-Fabrication Trades. An application was sent and he completed it, providing a resume of his skills and trade experience, including references relating to his work. The assessors created a competency profile, and decided that no gap training was required. After a trades skills interview and assessment, Barry was awarded full certification.

For those with a shortfall in skills, gap training may be offered.
This is likely to be home self-study material.

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Technology qualifications – an example

Jan, a candidate for RPL in Certificate IV in Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising is undergoing an assessment process in each of the major areas that make up this qualification for the fashion industry. These include construction, patternmaking, fabric study, drawing and specifications, design, design studio process, industry interaction, garment repairs and alterations, and garment embellishment. To complete the Certificate successfully, Jan has to submit completed self-assessment checklists (See example below), answer interview questions accurately, give workplace demonstrations as required, and produce evidence from others who have supervised her work. At present she is working on the checklist for patternmaking.

Patternmaking
This section relates to your knowledge, skills and experience of patternmaking, draping and stock block making.

 

Questions relating to Skills Set 2                          

Yes 

No  

What evidence can you provide?

Q1  Can you identify, select and use a range of patternmaking tools and equipment?

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Q2  Can you interpret size charts and measure a model form (dummy) or a client?

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Q3  Can you modify a styled pattern to create a new style?

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Q4  Can you analyse a design and select suitable blocks, ease allowances and fabrics to develop a pattern?

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Q5  Can you make a styled pattern from a block using dart manipulation, contouring and adding fullness?

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Q6  Have you made, fitted and adjusted test garments from your patterns and blocks?

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Q7  Can you transfer fitting and style adjustments from a test garment to a pattern?

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Q8  Can you select appropriate seam allowances for woven and knit fabrics?

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Q9  Can you check a production pattern for quality and accuracy?

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Q10 Have you used the techniques of draping to create a pattern or block?

 q  q  

Q11 Can you select suitable fabrics and tape a model form for draping a design?

 q  q  

 

Is there anything else you have achieved/delivered or are qualified in, which has not been identified here? If so, please provide details here.

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Management qualifications

There are a range of ways experience can be documented in the RPL process. Typically a portfolio is prepared by the candidate to show the competencies required by the qualification.

Kylie is an experienced supervisor, with responsibility for a team of four. On the suggestion of her manager, she underwent the RPL process for Certificate IV of Leadership and Management. This certificate is made up of 12 units including four key areas of management – communication, leadership, planning and teamwork. Using a portfolio of experience, documented evidence from the workplace, and verification of skills by management and a practical workplace demonstration, Kylie achieved her certificate.

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Tertiary institutions and universities

Tertiary institutions and universities may inform you about their RPL services on their websites. If you have a particular degree or qualification in mind, investigate where it can be studied and if RPL is available.

Students with previous recognised tertiary studies are likely to be eligible for RPL exemptions. Exemptions are granted on the basis of prior learning (formal or informal) where that learning is assessed as equivalent to the learning outcomes or competencies of the degree units.  Exemption releases a student from having to undertake one or more units within the selected course.

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