Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

What is recognition?
Recognition including recognition of prior learning (RPL), is a process for giving candidates credit for skills, knowledge and experience gained through working and learning. It can be gained at any stage of their lives, through formal and informal learning, in Australia or overseas, through work or other activities such as volunteering.

SkillsOnline does not assess people's qualifications or grant RPL. SkillsOnline provides online distribution of vocational education and training resources to people in Australia only. Below you will find information and advice about recognition and where you can go for further assistance.

Where to go for advice and information about recognition

 Useful links:

  • Skills and Trade Recognition information 

If you have trade skills and experience but have never completed an apprenticeship or gained a formal certificate, you can apply to have your skills assessed and be formally recognised as a tradesperson in NSW. For more information go to Skills and Trade Recognition - State Training Services.

  • Credit for previous learning and experience

 For information about who may apply for credit go to TAFE NSW.

  • Recognition for a specific qualification

My Skills website provides information on study options and opportunities in VET. For information about how to get assessed for RPL and how to get overseas general qualifications assessed in Australia go to their Help page.

  • Recognition of Prior Learning information

Information about RPL including a list of education and training providers go to myfuture. myfuture is Australia's national career information and exploration service, helping people to make career decisions, plan career pathways and manage work transitions.

Skills Recognition - How candidates can prepare

Recognition means the candidate gains credit towards a vocational qualification - sometimes a full qualification - without undertaking a complete training program. Recognition is faster, cheaper and more efficient than putting people through training in areas they already know well. It means less time off the job and is more satisfying for the learner. 

Useful resources:

  • RPL - Toolkit from Volunteering Australia

The toolkit has been designed to support volunteers and managers of volunteers in learning about RPL and the process involved in attaining RPL. The toolkit can also be used by other industries.

Download a free copy (pdf 1.230 KB)

  • Sample Portfolio Checklist 

The checklist provides some useful information about what to include in a portfolio. The checklist can be found in the Assessor Guide to RPL (pdf 5MB). The guide assists assessors to offer streamlined recognition processes and information to employers and recognition candidates.

Download a free copy (pdf 234KB)

  • Sample Evidence Portfolio Checklist

The checklist is for the Children's Services sector and provides some useful information on what type of essential and additional evidence can be included in an evidence portfolio.

Download a free copy (pdf 272 KB)

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Recognition Guides for training providers, candidates, assessors and employers



These guides, developed by the NSW Department of Industry, can be downloaded for free. They will take you step by step through the recognition process.

RTO Guide

RTO Guide

To assist Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) deliver a quality recognition service and develop or improve the capacity of RTOs to engage and assist candidates and employees being instructed in recognition including RPL.

Download a free copy (pdf 6.85MB)


Candidate Guide

Candidate Guide

To assist people seeking recognition for experience, skills and knowledge for which they do not hold a vocational qualification. This guide has been developed to provide individuals with more information about recognition and help them to understand the recognition process.

Download a free copy (pdf 2.29MB)


Assessor Guide

Assessor Guide

Assists assessors to offer streamlined recognition processes and information to employers and recognition candidates.

Download a free copy (pdf 17.2MB)



Employer Guide

Assists employers by providing a brief overview of the benefits and process of recognition.

Download a free copy (pdf 1.12MB)


RPL Practice Models Catalogue - a list of valuable RPL resources from various sectors


 RPL Practice Models Catalogue

The Commonwealth and NSW governments jointly funded the NSW COAG RPL Program managed by the NSW Department of Industry.

The projects, which were run by a range of industry, training provider and community groups, have resulted in important insights and valuable resources that training providers, enterprises and learners can download for free.

View the catalogue

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State Training Services - SkillsOnline
NSW Department of Industry
Locked Bag 53
Darlinghurst NSW 1300

Page last updated: 11 August 2015