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VET Recognition Procedure

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The University recognises an individual’s skills, knowledge and experience gained through work experience, life experience, training courses and work based training, assessed against the evidence requirements of one (1) or more units of competency.

(2) To ensure consistency, fairness and transparency, the University will facilitate the progression of VET students through qualifications by giving recognition of prior learning or credit transfer for learning outcomes already achieved in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.

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Section 2 - Compliance

(3) This is a compliance requirement under the:

  1. Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015; and
  2. National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018.
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Section 3 - Intent

(4) This document outlines the University’s process for assessing a student’s previous learning, skills and knowledge to determine the extent to which they have achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards for partial or total completion of a VET qualification.

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Section 4 - Relevant Definitions

(5) In the context of this document:

  1. Assessment means the process of collecting evidence and making judgements on whether competency has been achieved, in order to confirm that an individual can perform to the standard expected in the workplace, as expressed by the relevant endorsed industry/enterprise competency standards of a training package or by the learning outcomes of an accredited course;
  2. Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) means the framework for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system;
  3. Credit Transfer means a process of advanced standing that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched units or qualifications. In VET the equivalence is identified in the Training Package or Accredited Course documentation;
  4. Evidence means information which, when matched against a unit of competency or module, provides proof of competency;
  5. Formal learning means the learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction and is linked to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment (for example, a certificate, diploma or university degree);
  6. Informal learning means the learning that results through experience of work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities (for example the acquisition of interpersonal skills developed through several years as a sales representative);
  7. National Recognition means the University accepts and provides credit to students for units of competency and/or modules (unless licensing or regulatory requirements prevent this) where these are evidenced by AQF certification documentation issued by any other registered training organisation or AQF authorised issuing organisation, or authenticated VET transcripts issued by the Registrar;
  8. Non-formal learning means the learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction, but does not lead to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment (for example, in-house professional development programs conducted by a business);
  9. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means an assessment process that assesses the competency/s of a student that may have been acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that student meets the requirements specified in the training package or VET accredited courses;
  10. Rules of evidence means the rules that guide the collection of evidence to ensure that it is valid, sufficient, authentic and current; and
  11. VET means vocational education and training.
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Section 5 - Procedures

Skills Recognition

(6) Through skills recognition, students who have previously completed any of the units in their enrolled course may be eligible for credit transfer. Alternatively, students with gained skills and knowledge that are relevant to their course may be eligible for recognition of prior learning.

(7) Students are encouraged to discuss eligibility for skills recognition, evidence requirements and fees with their lecturer or the RPL Co-ordinator. They can give advice on completing the forms, gathering reliable evidence access to a course specific Self-Assessment tool if applicable.

Credit Transfer

(8) To apply for Credit Transfer, students need to complete the VET110 - Application for Credit Transfer form and provide the supporting evidence to the relevant school/team.

(9) The University recognises the Statements of Attainment issued by any other Australian registered training organisations. The nominated team member will make an assessment based on a certified copy of a Qualification/Statement of Attainment and if authentic provide the applicant with a credit for equivalent units.

Recognition of Prior Learning

(10) Recognition of Prior Learning acknowledges that people learn in many different ways and that learning may have been obtained through:

  1. formal learning, non-formal learning, informal learning; or
  2. a combination of all of the above.

(11) Expressions of interest for Recognition of Prior Learning will be actioned by the RPL Unit or the VET delivery area. The RPL Unit or the VET delivery area will hold preliminary discussions with the interested party. To apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, students need to complete the relevant RPL Self-Assessment and the VET 121 Recognition of Prior Learning form. A course/unit assessor/content specialist will undertake the assessment based on the supporting evidence provided by the applicant. Each piece of evidence should be clearly identified and numbered as an attachment of the application form.

(12) Applicants should not send original documents. They must be photocopied and certified (signed and dated) as a true copy of the original document by an authorised person, such as a Justice of the Peace, police officer, doctor, accountant, school principal or bank manager who has seen both the original and the photocopy. Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by an English translation. The translator must be accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an equivalent body for offshore students.

(13) Note: Former institutions and/or current/former employers may be contacted for further information and/or clarification of claims.

Supporting Evidence

(14) Evidence can take many forms and be gathered from a number of sources however, there must an appropriate balance to ensure that overall the evidence collected meets the rules of evidence. Evidence can be categorised as:

  1. direct evidence, which is evidence that can be observed or witnessed by the assessor. This could include observation of workplace performance, oral questioning, demonstration, challenge test;
  2. indirect evidence, which is evidence of a student’s work that can be reviewed or examined by the assessor. This could include finished products, written assignments or tests, or a portfolio of previous work performed; and
  3. supplementary evidence, which is additional evidence presented to assessors to support an applicant’s claim of competence. This could include reports from supervisors, colleagues and/or clients, testimonials from employers, work diaries, evidence of training.

Assessment Principles

(15) The following principles will apply in the assessment of applications for Recognition of Prior Learning: RPL assessment will:

  1. be undertaken by academic or teaching staff with expertise in the subject, content or skills area;
  2. be the same standard as other assessments for the qualification using appropriate evidence-gathering methods and tools;
  3. recognise learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided the learning is relevant to the learning outcomes in the unit of competency;
  4. ensure that evidence provided is valid, authentic, current and sufficient and that the process is fair, flexible, reliable and valid; and
  5. include reasonable adjustment for the literacy levels, cultural background and experiences of students. It should not be a proxy for the assessment of skills such as literacy except where these are intrinsic to the learning outcomes of the qualification component.

Conducting Assessment

(16) On receipt of applications for RPL, the relevant assessor will:

  1. record all evidence collected in the University’s student management system;
  2. prepare questions to identify any other additional evidence requirements;
  3. where necessary, assess the extra evidence once submitted;
  4. determine whether RPL is granted or not granted; and
  5. submit the RPL Resulting form to the relevant Customer Service Officer for processing.

(17) The assessor will conduct an assessment in accordance with the assessment principles above. Where RPL is granted, the student will be considered to have already successfully completed the unit/s of competency and will not have to participate in training or assessment activities for that unit/s.

(18) Note: In determining where RPL may be granted, the assessor/s must be confident of the currency of the applicant’s competency. In fields where practice/technology is changing rapidly, RPL may not be granted.

(19) Where RPL is not granted, the student will be informed of formal learning opportunities.

(20) In the case of recognition of prior learning (RPL) assessment judgements, the evidence collected should include all evidence provided by the student and the assessor’s mapping of that student evidence against the unit requirements. In the case of assessments where the selected unit is one in a cluster of units, all units in the cluster should be reviewed.

Conflicts of Interest

(21) There may be potential for real or perceived conflicts of interest when staff members apply for Recognition of Prior Learning through the University. As such, the University must ensure its processes can withstand public scrutiny.

(22) For probity purposes, staff members enrolled in a VET qualification/unit of competency applying for RPL will incur normal student fees and charges and be assessed by a three (3) member assessment panel consisting of:

  1. a qualified assessor;
  2. team leader; and
  3. another Team Leader outside the team or the RPL Coordinator.

(23) All members of the assessment panel must hold the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or its successor in accordance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015.

(24) The Team Leaders or the RPL Coordinator are not required to be competency experts in the qualification being assessed, but they must have expertise in RPL assessment to certify the integrity of assessment process and that the principles of assessment and the rules of evidence are appropriately applied in the staff members RPL assessment. All three signatures are required to confirm the assessment outcomes on the RPL Resulting form, listing each unit of competence assessed.

(25) Alternatively, staff members may choose to seek RPL through an external Registered Training Organisation.


(26) Retain copies of all evidence and the application form for the required timeframe as stipulated in the ASQA General Direction - Retention requirements for completed student assessment items.

(27) Evidence of RPL assessment is kept as per Retention of Evidence documentation.

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Section 6 - Non-Compliance

(28) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(29) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(30) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.