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RPL Kits. Do RTOs Need Them?

Updated: Jan 10

Organising and operating an Australian-based RTO is a costly and complex endeavour requiring a huge commitment of time and resources. Among many considerations and complications for operators is whether a recognition-of-prior-learning (RPL) kit is essential for every training product within the RTO.

This challenge directly results from the interpretation of the ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority) requirements by auditors (especially when their focus is on international students).

ASQA Requirements and their Interpretation

According to ASQA, the RTO must assess a learner's competency, regardless of where, when, or how those competencies have been acquired.

This means that an RTO must support its learners and implement methods of assessment and recognition of prior learning and experience when requested.

Interpretation of the ASQA recommendations, however, has not been simple.

Previously, and as interpreted by many auditors, it was determined that ASQA required all RTOS to have RPL assessment tools for all units. These were to be used for students seeking recognition of prior learning to acknowledge their existing skills, lower their fees, and/or reduce their qualification period.

Auditors commonly requested RPL kits for the initial setup or performance assessment during auditing. This forced RTOs to purchase RPL kits at significant cost, regardless of whether they’d ever actually be needed.

What’s the Issue with this Interpretation?

RPL kits are not always required.

The requirement that RTOs purchase RPL kits they may never need or use represents a huge financial burden on the RTO – and it is an unnecessary cost in most cases.

Providers (e.g. vocational education and training (VET) providers) should not be (nor are they) expected to purchase material they will never use.

For example, most international students in Australia do not request recognition of prior learning. For an RTO to spend large amounts of revenue on RPL kits that will not be used is an unreasonable expectation – and one that auditors commonly get wrong.

Instead, RTOs should be encouraged and supported to deliver quality educational outcomes and not be burdened with superfluous costs.

RTO Responsibilities Concerning RPL

  1. The RTO must implement and abide by an RPL policy and process

  2. The RTO must transparently document and advise that they can quickly provide RPL assessment to any student seeking such.

  3. The RTO can use existing assessments to consider RPL without developing a new RPL kit.

ASQA does not require that any RTO has RPL tools they do not expect to use – only those required for the scope of expected assessment are needed.

Contact RTO Intelligence

For expert advice and support for your RTO, call us on 1300 833 424 in Australia or complete our contact form online. From RTO setup to compliance, internal audits, and much more, we are here to help.

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