RPL In Vocational Education Study

Date —

23 Jun 2020

Industry Sector/s —
Vocational Education & Training

Summary —

The latest research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that only a small proportion of Australian vocational education and training (VET) students are
granted recognition of prior learning (RPL) each year and the use of RPL in VET is

Key Issues —

The NCVER report entitled Exploring the recognition of prior learning in Australian VET also shows that while RPL can save time and money for individuals and businesses, it can be costly and difficult for VET providers to offer in practice.

Over the last four years, the rate of RPL being granted has fallen. During this time, the completion of subjects through RPL has only represented a small proportion of all successful results. In 2015, 6.5% of all successfully completed subjects were achieved through RPL. By 2018, this rate had fallen to 4.8%. In terms of actual figures, of the approximately 19,256,000 subjects successfully completed in 2018, around 930,600 subjects were completed through RPL.

Some general trends are identified in the areas where the rate of RPL granted is higher. In 2018, a higher proportion of successfully completed subjects with an RPL result (7%) was found in training package qualifications, compared with less than 1% for any other program type. A higher rate of RPL (5.1%) was found in training programs that did not form part of an apprenticeship or traineeship compared with those in apprenticeship and traineeship programs (2.5%). The potential reasons for these trends are explored in the report.

The NCVER report, Exploring the recognition of prior learning in Australian VET, can be accessed via the link below:

NCVER Download —


Significant differences in the granting of RPL among the Australian states and territories are evident. In 2018, the highest rate of RPL granted was in Queensland (almost 9%), while the lowest was in the Australian Capital Territory (below 2%). Between 2015 and 2018, the trends in granting RPL also differed between the states and territories, with some rising or falling, while others remained stable.

How RPL fits into completed programs is also investigated in the report. Of the approximately 650,000 program enrolments commenced in 2017, that resulted in completions in either 2017 or 2018, around 9% were completed with some amount of RPL, and almost 4% were completed entirely with RPL, with the latter translating to around 24,600 programs.

Independent providers support more than 80% of the 4.1 million students in vocational education and training nationwide. 

Member Engagement —

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Committee.

Further Information —

For more information on this issue please send an email to vocational.education@iteca.edu.au or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.

Disclaimer & Copyright:

The material published on this website page is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice.  It may not be reproduced without ITECA’s prior written consent.

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