Wanting RPL for Your TAE Cert IV or Dip VET? The First Step is to Make Sure That You Are Competent

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To get Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) for any course of study, be it a single unit or an entire qualification, means that you can demonstrate that you are competent in all areas of the course. This might seem a bit basic, but experience tells me that there are many people who either wish to shortcut the RPL process or who do not understand what RPL means in the context of the Certificate IV TAE and Dip VET.  Experience tells us that it is better for people to reduce the number of “unknown unknowns”.

The aim of this article is to introduce 5 questions that you can ask yourself to determine if you could think about attaining your qualification entirely by RPL.

1. Do you know what the qualification actually includes?
2. Do you know where to find the qualification packaging rules?
3. Do you know the principles of assessment?
4. Do you know the rules of evidence?
5. Do you know the definition of competent?

The first thing you might notice is that not one of those questions is related to the planning of training, the delivery of training or the assessment of training. These things are certainly important, and your competence in these things would need to be proven before awarding you the qualification. But, they are not the only important things.

You see, to be competent enough to gain the qualification means that you really need to know some basic stuff that is fundamental to all qualifications.

  • If we do not know what the qualification includes, then how can we say that we have already done it or learnt it somewhere else? We must first know what the course includes before we can make a decision that we ought to be gaining it by RPL.
  • If we do not know where to find the qualification, then how can we legitimately know if we have done or can do all that is required to meet the course requirements? We must first know what the qualification requires before we can say we meet those requirements.
  • If we do not understand the principles of assessment, then how can we legitimately understand RPL and what it really involves. We must first know the fundamentals of valid assessment before we can say that we ought to be assessed as competent.
  • If we do not understand the Rules of Evidence, then how can we legitimately know what evidence to provide to support our claim for RPL. We must first know what quality evidence is and how it will be evaluated before we can say that we are able to provide sufficient evidence to be assessed as competent.
  • If we do not know what it means to be competent, then how can we legitimately assess ourselves as competent? We must first know what it means to be competent before we can claim to be competent.

There are few people who are able to meet this requirement. Those who can answer these 5 questions are without exception people who possess either extensive and current experience in all areas of designing, conducting, assessing and validating training, with many also holding relevant qualifications.

For the majority of people, this does not mean that RPL is a lost cause, but rather that they should approach the prospect of RPL with realistic expectations and limit their claim for RPL to those parts of the course that they can clearly identify their own recent and sufficient capabilities in.

Experience tells me that one of the easiest ways for people to work out where they could possibly gain RPL is to show them the requirements of the various Units.  By honestly evaluating their own experience against those requirements, they will be in a better position to see where any gaps could exist.

To help with these, we invite prospective students to complete the Personal Learning Plan Surveys that we use with our enrolled students.  You can get hold of them for the Dip VET/TDD and Cert IV TAE from the links below.


By looking at ourselves through the lens of the qualifications, we will be able to see where we really are.  It might not be the same as where we thought we were, but at least it will provide a good starting point for moving forward to gain your chosen qualification with success.

To discuss your particular circumstances or experience then call us on 1300 141 994 or send an email to info@fortresslearning.com.au.

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