The issue of young people starting their careers with crippling education debts is a hot topic. A diploma can leave a student with $25,000 owing to the government. The debt for an undergraduate degree averages $48,000 and is constantly rising. A masters degree can set a graduate back another $30-60,000.
It’s hard enough for school leavers to have these sorts of numbers hanging over their heads. Now imagine incurring that debt mid-career, with a family to support and a mortgage to pay. On top of that, few Australians have the capacity to take years away from work to study. If they want that ‘piece of paper’, they face years of evening classes and studying weekends – time away from family and hobbies.
And the final indignity: older students sometimes spend this time and money “learning” subject matter in which they are already an expert, thanks to years spent working in the industry.
It is a situation many people in their 30s and 40s find themselves in. Years of practical experience in an industry, but careers which have ground to a halt because they need a certificate, diploma or post-graduate degree to get to the next level. But given the investment of both time and money required to get that piece of paper, it is little wonder that many struggle to gain the qualification necessary to improve their careers and lives.
The government is finally recognising that the traditional model of education is not appropriate for everybody. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the move is towards a customised education system that recognises not only prior qualifications, but relevant work experience. In the education world, it is known as Recognition of Prior Learning, or “RPL”. Check out the video below to learn how RPL can shave off years and thousands of dollars in getting your degree.
Got years of experience? You may be eligible for RPL. Take the free Skills Review today to find out.
‘People need a solution that is customised for them,’ says Adam Wadi, CEO of Get Qualified Australia. ‘A customised model combines recognition of what you know and a training plan to fill in the gaps of what you don’t. Together it provides the fastest, most cost-effective path to gain the qualification’.
The notion that the only way to learn is to attend classes scheduled at times and in places that suit the education provider is also being challenged in today’s environment.
There are certainly advantages of attending classes in person. There’s the social aspect of working together and a plethora of clubs and societies students to join. Many students need the incentive of regimented class times and being marked for attendance. Friendships are forged and future contacts made. But the importance of these aspects diminish as a person gets older.
‘A person who is mid-career is more likely to have the motivation and self-discipline to study independently,’ says Wadi. ‘And they already have a social life, maybe even a family. They don’t need to physically attend a college or university for these things.’
Mid-career students looking to attain the next qualification need to explore every avenue to have their workplace knowledge and expertise recognised. They should be entitled to exemptions where they already have sufficient knowledge to pass the unit. There should be options to take classes online for subjects where workshops or physical presence in a classroom are unnecessary.
The most important aspect is RPL. ‘Why should you have to pay to learn something you already know and can prove you know?’ asks Wadi.
Get the complete RPL Guidebook to learn more about the RPL process.
Unfortunately, many institutions are not equipped to help students recognise and supply the evidence of prior learning required to get the exemption/s they deserve. RPL is an administrative task, and not one that produces any income for the university or college. They’re not set up to service individual applications, and it is not in their best interests to promote RPL.
As a result, many people don’t realise that they may be able to get credit thanks to what they already know.
‘The education shake-up needs to start with educating people on RPL,’ says Wadi. ‘When people realise a higher qualification is achievable, they are more likely to reach for the stars’.
Get Qualified Australia can help with RPL and gap training, allowing skilled and experienced individuals to achieve a nationally recognised qualification in a time and cost-effective way.