Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

What is ‘Recognition’?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a method of assessment that enables participants to gain recognition for their current knowledge and skills. This recognition is gaining acknowledgment for what you know and can do, regardless of where or how you learnt it. This may include (but is not limited to) formal or informal education and training, work experience or general life experience. RPL is an assessment process. It is not a guarantee that you will just be handed a qualification in Certificate III and IV in Fitness.

In order for an assessor to grant recognition, they must feel confident that the candidate is currently competent against present industry standards and the outcomes specified in the training package under the Australian Quality Framework accredited course. The responsibility of providing sufficient evidence rests with the RPL candidate.

PTA will recognise and, where possible provide credit for your relevant prior study, life and work experience.  Such recognition occurs through the process of RPL. There is no restriction on the number of competencies for which RPL can be granted.  You may be given a full qualification- where supporting evidence indicates that you have achieved all the competency requirements of an award.

What is Competency Based Training?

Your course of study with Personal Training Academy (PTA) is what’s known as “competency based training” and has regulatory guidelines that college and assessors need to adhere to. It’s important that you understand what competency based training is, how it affects your assessment and ultimately, why we may require you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills across a range of topics, or by re-attempting certain tasks.

Competency Based Training in Australia

Competency based training is a structured approach to training and assessment that is directed toward achieving specific outcomes. It is about assisting individuals to acquire skills and knowledge so they are able to perform a task to a specified standard under certain conditions. The emphasis in competency based training is on “performing” rather than just “knowing”.

A competency is defined in terms of what a person is required to do (performance), under what conditions it is to be done (conditions) and how well it is to be done (standards).

A competency is much more than just a description of a work task or activity. It encompasses measures of the competency and addresses the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for a person to perform a job to a required standard.

What is ‘evidence’ and how can I collect it?

In completing this application for RPL, your aim is to gather ‘proof’ or evidence of your competence against the standards listed in the competency. Evidence may take many forms and should not simply be limited to previous qualifications or a portfolio of documents. Providing a CV or portfolio of documents does not adequately meet the RPL process requirements. RPL is an assessment process, so historical experience or prior qualification is not automatically equal to current industry standards.

While the range of acceptable evidence is limitless, there are four main things that your assessor must consider when assessing your evidence. These are:

Rules of Evidence:

  1. Currency- The skills and knowledge must be “current” to the industry standard and still relevant. (Currency is defined within 5 years- if it is over 5 years then it cannot be assessed).
  2. Authenticity– Evidence being presented must be proved to be of your own work. Any formal documentation such as transcripts or certificates must be verified by a Justice of the Peace). Any international academic transcripts not in English must but be officially translated by a certified organization.
  3. Validity– Evidence must be relevant to the area/industry and the details of the unit requirements (as identified per unit title) that you wish to seek recognition in.
  4. Sufficiency– Evidence should ensure that there is enough good quality evidence covering knowledge and or skills to prove your current competence requirements of the training package.

Types of evidence could include:

Evidence- knowledge and skills:
Evidence must either demonstrate from- or both the knowledge or skills that the unit requires. It may include any combination of the following:


  • An assessor interview- questions and answers
  • Formal assessment in a study program
  • Timetabling schedule of classes
  • Unit outlines/ outcomes from a subject/ module/ course completed.
  • Certificates of participation, awards or letters of commendation
  • Website testimonials
  • Written 3rd party reports
  • Duty statements and/ or workplace reports
  • Relevant and verified copies of academic transcripts and/or statements of attainment
  • Project plans and reports
  • Samples of real work that support your competence in a particular area, for example Completed client profiles and their programs
  • Minutes of meeting
  • References or written testimonials from your employer or past employers stating that you have achieved a competency
  • Statements or validations from your clients saying that you trained them
  • Conference or workshop attendance certificates
  • Lesson plans


  • Demonstration of practical tasks either in person or via video/DVD submission.
  • YouTube videos
  • 3rd party reports- such as by previous/current employers given, to assessors verbally or in writing.

In order to assess your evidence further, your assessor will be looking for confirmation of:

  • Task skills– how you perform the required skills
  • Task management skills– how you prioritise and organise various aspects of one or more tasks
  • Contingency skills– how you prepare for and handle unexpected or challenging situations
  • Job role environment skills– how you perform required tasks in a relevant work-place simulation or environment
  • Performance over time– how you can consistently demonstrate your competence over time

case study example

Candidate 1 Candidate 2
University exercise science qualification, two other certificates.
No formal qualifications.
Has numerous character references.
Has provided testimonials, work examples and video footage of specific tasks.
Evidence is 8 years old.
Evidence from the last 6 months.

For each candidate, the assessor needs to weigh the evidence and make a judgement based on each unit for the competence to be achieved. In this situation the second candidate appears to have much stronger evidence contributing to current competence and as a result is more likely to gain RPL.

The Application Process

How do I apply for RPL?

1. Payment for the RPL application.

We are required by the government to thoroughly assess a person’s competence before issuing a national qualification or statement of attainment. There is a cost associated with the external assessing and reviewing the RPL application, establishing or updating a student’s file and maintaining that file for a period of 30 years.

If your RPL claim is not successful, the $750 / $1000 is non-refundable and will be considered as an assessment fee for the RPL assessment process.

The cost of any remaining modules will not exceed the cost of a full Certificate III and Certificate IV. There will be no refunds of the RPL application fee if the units applied for has been rejected or if you are unhappy with the result of the RPL assessment.

2. Duration of RPL Assessment.

You should allow up to 30 working days for processing of your application, so that sufficient and due consideration can be given to your situation. In addition to providing documented evidence to support your application, you may also be required to undergo an interview or additional testing to prove your competency.

3. RPL application and portfolio submission.

You will need to complete the application form and collect the evidence required of previous study, life or work experience by following the process as summarised below.

Steps Directions
Step 1
Payment and personal details
Step 2
Describe your past education and training
Step 3
Describe any other studies you have undertaken
Step 4
Describe any life experience
Step 5
Describe your work experience
Step 6
Gather a portfolio of evidence and list the evidence provided to us. Attach the evidence to this application
Step 7
Provide information against each competency
Step 8
Check that you have included everything and submit the application electronically.

4. Results of RPL.

Once assessed, you will be advised in writing of the outcome of your application.

Successful full RPL- If you have met all the requirements of the qualification to which you have applied for, you will be issued with a Certificate and a Statement of attainment. The RPL fee paid covers this issuing of this Certification.

Partially successful RPL- You will be quoted on the cost of any units or modules of the courses you will need to complete, required for completion of the qualification. While you do have the option not to proceed, your application fee will not be refunded as this fee covers the assessing of the application.

If you agree to continue, you will need to enroll into the remaining modules as deemed necessary by competencies not adequately met.

5. Appealing the RPL decision.

You may appeal the original decision. In such instance, a written appeal against a decision not to grant you RPL must include additional evidence to support your appeal. PTA is committed to ensuring that all applications for RPL are assessed fairly and promptly.

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