Can you achieve trade recognition through RPL?

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One might think that achieving trade recognition through RPL sounds way too easy and good to actually be true, however, the facts speak for themselves – it’s very possible for Australian tradies to attain formal recognition using RPL, and they could be achieving it in weeks.

You might already be working in your industry. You’ve probably dedicated years or decades to your trade, are skilled in what you do, and do it for a living. However, despite your extensive experience and skill sets, you might not have the formal qualification to go with your expertise.

This is a common struggle for many skilled yet unqualified Australian workers – the knowledge that despite doing the work of a tradesperson, they aren’t formally recognised as such, having never completed an apprenticeship or acquired a qualification. Many in the industry consider them labourers who aren’t “real tradespeople”. Others simply accuse them of not “doing their time”.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Having accumulated years (or even decades) of experience, they’ve dedicated just as much of their time, if not more so, than their qualified counterparts. Fortunately for them, there are options available for achieving formal recognition without the need for 3-5 years of classroom study, learning what they already know.

As the process through which skills and experience are assessed by a panel of industry and educational experts, ‘trade recognition’ allows workers who have skills and experience in a trade but have never completed an apprenticeship or gained a certificate, the opportunity to be awarded a trade-related certificate.

Instead of being a replacement for apprenticeships and training courses, however, skills or trade recognition merely provides another avenue for already skilled and experienced Australians to achieve formal recognition in a time and cost-effective way, acknowledging the extensive experience and service an individual has dedicated to their industry, without the need to spend tens of thousands of dollars studying.

While applications are considered on a case by case basis and eligibility requirements differ from qualification to qualification, the completion of a Certificate III in the related trade is usually the minimum requirement. This may be accomplished through Recognition or Prior Learning (RPL).

Introduced by the government in the 1990s, RPL has made is easier for Australians to achieve formal recognition through the issuing of Nationally Recognised Qualifications, bypassing unnecessary modes of study which aim to develop skills and knowledge that the candidate has already developed through experience.

Because these qualifications are usually issued from Certificate III and above, it is very possible for candidates to use these RPL-acquired qualifications to apply for formal trade recognition, especially when the qualification’s units verify that the candidate has proficiency in the required core and elective units.

You can find out more about attaining trade recognition through RPL here.

Think you have what it takes to achieve trade recognition through RPL?

Take our free skills review to see whether you’re eligible.

Looking to get licensed in your trade? Find your relevant state licensing body.


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