Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) allows recognition of your relevant existing skills as a credit towards subjects in the course that you wish to study.

It is important to bear in mind that RPL does not exempt you from assessment.  RPL is assessment. The evidence that you present is an assessment of your current skills and knowledge applied against the assessment requirements of the course. You will be given the opportunity to display competency in all of the aspects of the Qualification that you are seeking; both ‘academic’ skills (subjects such as Risk management, OH&S and activity planning) and practical activity skills.

The first two stages of RPL are as follows;

Stage 1. RPL Discussion & initial interview.

It is a good idea to call and discuss your application to clarify requirements and have a conversation to define your required skills sets and to discuss the level of qualification that you require.  We will issue you a draft quote and a list of units that you require to meet your goal and how these will be assessed (Written evidence, practical assessment or by completion of assignments).

Stage 2. Enrolment.

After you have decided to commence your RPL application, you must complete your enrolment.  

Your initial application involves submitting**;

  1.  Completed enrolment forms
  2. Payment of $1250.00 usually by direct transfer
  3. A summary of your relevant experience
  4. Copies of Certificates that you hold that are relevant to your application
  5. Evidence of your secondary, tertiary or trade qualifications
  6. A brief overview of your Outdoor Recreation experience
The RPL Assessment Process

Stage 3. Evidence gathering and assessment.

There are two main approaches to RPL;

  1. The most common approach is where it seems that you have some experience but not all that is required to RPL an Qualification or skills set.
  2. Secondly, there is a pathway for persons who have most, if not all, of the required skills and experience.

Field assessment

In either case, we will enrol you in the first module of the Outdoor Leader Course to complete a ‘field assessment’ of your skills.  As you work with us in the field, we will be able to develop a strong sense of your abilities and currency of your experience.

A personal RPL assessment plan will be formulated based on observation of your capabilities and a clear pathway will be established for you to complete your course.

If you demonstrate competency in most, if not all, of the required skills and experience you are likely to have no additional fees to pay.  Persons who require training certain aspects of the course will have a training plan formulated the cost of which will be included in your overall RPL plan.

For aspects of the course that you are able to RPL, the process requires you to document your experience, as follows;

Evidence assessment

By documenting your relevant experience, our assessors will be able to assess your application and perhaps allow a credit transfer to towards completion of a module or units of your course. In cases where an applicant can supply documented evidence that aligns with the full requirements of the units that you are RPLing, competency can be granted without further assessment.

If the documented evidence supplied only partially aligns with the requirements of the unit or qualification, then we will advise you of the shortfall and develop a training plan to cover the missing components required to obtain that unit / qualification. You may then choose to study the relevant units of the course with us, or elsewhere.  This is referred to as Gap Training.

You will be provided with assessment criteria for the competency units that you are required to be assessed in to enable you to more accurately address the performance requirements. On receipt of the assessment criteria, you are required to provide documentary evidence of your skills and experience. 

The process

This step is normally undertaken, one unit at a time and if required, you can request assistance from the assessor.  If the RPL is for a practical skill then you may be required to attend face to face practical skills assessment or provide documented evidence of your skills capability.

Although your assessor will assist in the process, it is the applicant’s responsibility to provide valid, relevant and sufficient evidence.  Examples of evidence could include certificates from previous courses, current / recently expired accreditation or licenses, documented work history including position descriptions, supervisor reports, samples of work and any other relevant documentation.

The more thorough information you provide; the easier it will be for us to assess your competence.

As you provide evidence against each competency unit, the assessor will review and assess the documentation you have provided. This will also involve a verification process. We will advise you if we determine that we require additional evidence, or, if necessary, provide opportunities for Gap training or Assessment.

Note: If you ‘fail’ to produce sufficient evidence for successful assessment in a unit or units, then you will be required to pay for any training required.  The RPL process that you have paid for is an assessment process and does not include a training pathway unless stipulated in your training & assessment plan.

Stage 4. Gap training or assessment

If gap training or assessment is required, you have the choice to accept assessment only in the modules that you have demonstrated competency in and receive a Statement of Attainment or you may

  • enrol in the relevant modules with other students
  • request personal bridging training to make up for the shortfall in your skills

In any case, you will be presented with options for training with us to complete your Qualification in full.

5. Final Administration and Qualification issue

You must complete your RPL application within 6 months unless specifically granted an extension by your assessor.  This is because your skills must be current at time of Qualification issue.  If you take too long to be assessed in total then you may be required to submit evidence if currency in units that may have lapsed (for instance a First Aid certificate submitted as evidence may have expired in the meantime, or your Vertical Rescue skills may need to be reassessed).

Once you have provided adequate evidence for Qualification and/or completed gap training and assessment then you will be issued your qualification.  The final administration tasks usually require the assessor and applicant to complete and sign off final course paperwork.


Your application fee will cover the cost of guiding you through your RPL assessment and processing your initial application.  If you can substantiate your capability and currency against the required units without the requirement for formal assessment or training, you may receive your certificate at no additional cost.

If you have any questions regarding your application please call me on 0413 157 358 or send me an email

Some final notes about RPL Assessment

The more thorough your evidence provided; the easier it will be for us to assess it. It is a bit like applying for a job; our assessors will need to know about your past experience, qualifications gained and your employment history.  You may want to discuss your application with me first; that way I can give you some guidance as to what areas you will need to address.

Due to the high practical content of activity and field skills you may need to be assessed by practical demonstration.  This is normally conducted by personal attendance with an assessor or ‘on course’ with Outdoor Leader students who are studying the relevant activities. Where personal attendance is NOT possible, it is acceptable that you provide a video tape of yourself completing the performance tasks required for assessment.  In these practical skills though, your evidence must be substantive to enable Qualification without direct assessment.

In all cases you may talk to us about your RPL application to assist you in assembling evidence.  Modules that you decide NOT to RPL can be done by completion of the appropriate workshops (usually people prefer to refresh subjects which require currency such as higher level practical skills, rescue and first aid).