Defence RPL FAQs

Got some RPL questions? Here are answers to common questions.

Each of the below questions opens up into a video and written answer.

RPL is a process in which the experience, skills, training and knowledge that you have built up in your career can be converted to nationally recognised qualifications. These qualifications are exactly the same as those awarded through studying.

Getting qualifications through RPL means that you don’t have to sit in a classroom and learn about things you already know. Instead, you can just show evidence that you’ve covered it in your work.

A lot of important learning happens while you’re on the job, not just when you’re sitting in a classroom. This sort of experiential learning is just as valid, and deserves to be acknowledged. What better way to do it than by getting a qualification?

People get qualifications through RPL for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • To satisfy licensing or regulatory requirements within an industry
  • To validate and consolidate skills acquired through experience
  • To provide proof of abilities when going for a promotion
  • To convert skills into a generalised format so they can be transferred to different industries
  • To gain a measure of what level qualification your abilities equate to
  • To cite as evidence of your currency in an area in order to train others
  • To convert overseas qualifications and/or experience into Australian qualifications

RPL can apply to a wide variety of industries. We award qualifications to people in government, mining, Defence, emergency services and throughout the private sector. We offer qualifications through RPL in the areas of government and investigations, management and leadership, business, security and risk, WHS.

As a current or formerly serving member of the ADF, you have built up skills, experience, knowledge and training that should not be underestimated. The difficulty lies in communicating this to employers in the civilian world. That’s where we come in.

As you may have read earlier, Churchill was started when our co-founder, Randall Smith, left the Queensland Police Service after sixteen years. Randall understands the importance and challenges in translating service to civilian language. He also understands what it is to conduct yourself with integrity. He uses this understanding to inform the way Churchill operates, with respect to Defence RPL.

Since January 2006, we have helped Defence personnel exiting the ADF to translate their service into qualifications that build their careers on Civvy Street. Our team has spent decades in the ADF themselves with active deployments and proud military careers, including the SAS. We have subject area experts and an in-house military mentor (formerly of the Special Forces community) available to you when we work together. We are guided by you and your objectives, and we are proud of the reputation we have developed as honest, honourable, efficient and effective practitioners.

  1. We conduct a free qualification appraisal and give you a report
  2. You tell us the qualifications you want to go ahead with and provide evidence
  3. You receive nationally recognised qualifications!

Let’s step this out a bit more:

Step 1. We conduct a free qualification appraisal and give you a report.

The RPL process begins with a conversation with one of our Skills Recognition Advisors.

  • You tell us what you’re looking for and where you want to go
  • You provide a few easily accessible documents
  • You’ll be sent a report within 48 hours. This will include a breakdown of costs involved and lists the qualifications:
    • You could be eligible for right now
    • You could be eligible for with a little more online gap training.


This is cost-free and obligation-free.

Step 2. You tell us the qualifications you want and provide evidence.

You can make an informed decision about which qualifications are best for you and your career. Once this is confirmed, we can complete the process.

  • We tell you exactly what evidence we need to establish your competency in the units that make up a qualification.
  • You provide your evidence, then you can sit back and relax!
  • We match the evidence to the units. This is called mapping. Other providers may get you to do this yourself.


Step 3. You receive nationally recognised qualifications!

Congratulations! Your experience has been validated and translated into nationally recognised qualifications.

  • To save you time, we submit all the paperwork to the government for you. This formalises your qualifications.
  • You receive your qualifications though both email and post, within 14 days for most qualifications. Or, with our VIP Fast-Track Service, you can have them in just 7 days.

In order to prove that the skills and knowledge that you’ve gained through your experience are sufficient to qualify you for RPL, you’ll need to show evidence of them. This evidence documents how you have covered the content of the units within a qualification, in your working life.

Read below about onsite assessment as a method of assessing experience.

The initial evidence that we would need from you to conduct a free preliminary assessment of your eligibility for qualifications through RPL is:

A copy of your full ADO Service Record (available from your Clerks) along with two of the following items:

  • a recent PAR
  • an ROA
  • your Duty Statement
  • a certificate issued by the ADF
  • a promotion notice
  • a posting notice
  • commendations
  • or desensitised pay slip.

Yes. Churchill Education is a registered training organisation, RTO:31430. This means that we are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Australian Government regulatory body for the VET sector.

The qualifications that we offer are nationally recognised, and issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Accordingly, they’re exactly the same as those granted by other educational institutions such as TAFE.

Qualifications through RPL range in price from $995 – $2100. You’ll find this info in the ‘Fees and Payment’ tab at the bottom of each qualification page.

Payment options are available if you’d like to spread out the cost of your qualification into fortnightly repayments. For more information about payment options, click here.

Yes. Many personnel aren’t aware of the different types of funding provided by the ADF for education purposes. Here’s a breakdown of the main types of funding and what they’re for.

Please note, we can’t give you any further advice about these funding programs or assess your eligibility for them, as they are internal and facilitated by Defence. This page is designed to give you information to use as a springboard for further research.

Career Transition Assistance Scheme (CTAS)

The purpose of the Career Transition Assistance Scheme (CTAS) is to support ADF members transitioning out of Defence to prepare for their civilian career.

Defence Assisted Study Scheme (DASS)

The purpose of the Defence Assisted Study Scheme (DASS) is to encourage ADF members to undertake professional training and education throughout their military career.

Partner Education & Employment Program (PEEP)

The Partner Education and Employment Program (PEEP) is a funding program provided by Defence to assist partners of ADF members with their education and employment. This includes vocational education and training. Eligibility criteria applies.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)

Eligible members may qualify for assistance from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, or DVA for rehabilitation support services including Vocational Rehabilitation. This may involve vocational training, and/or Recognition of Prior Learning. More info here.

Army Relief Trust Fund

Members who have served in the ARA for a continuous period of 12 months or longer can apply for a loan with the Army Relief Trust Fund. General Loans can be used for the purposes of education. Loans are subject to approval. More info here.

Yes. RPL is a holistic process that can be used to convert experience of any nature, regardless of where it occurs.

We have issued many Australian qualifications to Defence members in New Zealand and elsewhere. To assess your eligibility for qualifications through RPL, we will need copies of your training service records, course reports and performance appraisals.

Yes. We’ve helped people from all branches of Defence to get qualified.

Anyone who has been in Defence for a minimum of six months could be eligible for qualifications through RPL. Talk to us about your options if you’re at the rank of Private or above in the Army, and at the rank of Seaman or Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman in the Navy or Airforce, respectively.

People who have gotten qualifications through RPL after leaving Defence have gone on to get jobs in mining, in various government departments or organisations and in the private sector. Read stories about RPL here.

A minimum of six months of experience is necessary for Certificate-level qualifications, and more substantive experience is required for Diploma-level qualifications, or higher. The time spent in a role is just one factor to consider when calculating eligibility for RPL – the nature of the experience is just as important. Work and life experience, volunteer work and formal and informal training can contribute to your portfolio of evidence for qualifications through RPL.

One of the rules of evidence for RPL applications is currency. This is stipulated by the federal government and specifically, ASQA (the Australian Skills Quality Authority). This ensures that the learning in a particular area has been recent, and is not outdated. This helps to maintain the high standard of the qualifications awarded through the RPL process. But, if you have been working in an area post-discharge that builds on the skills you learnt in Defence, your service could still inform your evidence. Plus, RPL is for civvies, too, so we’re happy to chat with you about what you’ve been doing since leaving Defence, and see what you could be eligible for.

The first step in the RPL process is a preliminary assessment to determine which qualifications you could be eligible for, provided you have the requisite evidence. This is free and we don’t need a full suite of evidence at this stage – just a current position description and a resume. It’s always good to know what your options are. Then, if you progress, we can advise you on obtaining the evidence you need.

That’s fine. The preliminary assessment is obligation-free, meaning that you may or may not choose to proceed with one or more qualifications once you get your results. We do provide guidance about which qualifications are the best fit for the career path you intend to pursue, and if we can’t help you with certain qualifications, we can point you in the direction of someone who can.

Our favourite topic!

Churchill Education was established over ten years ago, when one of our co-founders, Randall Smith, left his role as a Senior Detective with the Queensland Police Service. Randall worked with an RTO to attain qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning, and was surprised and frustrated at how difficult and time-consuming the process was. He decided that RPL would form the basis for his next career, and that he would offer a service that was easy for the customer, ethical in how it was conducted, and driven by the needs and ambitions of the customer, rather than a provider concerned only with profit. Getting recognition for your hard work over the years should be rewarding – not a chore, and certainly not a swindle!

At Churchill Education, we are:

  • Reputable – we have built a reputation for quality and integrity over more than ten years
  • Efficient  – we understand the importance of streamlining the RPL process
  • Honest  – we are upfront about costs and we won’t try and sell you unnecessary qualifications
  • Transparent  – we are open about our process and believe it stands up to scrutiny
  • Customer-focused  – we ask you what you want and are guided by you.
  • Reliable – we keep lines of communication open and are easy to contact by phone or email.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about RPL. When you work with certain providers, RPL can be very complicated and time-consuming. However, if you choose to work with Churchill, it will not be hard. Other providers may ask you to do the complicated mapping part of the process, in which you match your experience and skills to units within a qualification. We do that for you. We tell you exactly what evidence we need, and complete the process once you’ve provided it. RPL is only hard if you try to do it alone. With the right help, it’s easy.

While we can’t offer official taxation advice, we can say that you may be able to claim the cost of qualifications achieved through RPL as a self-education expense. Seek further advice on this by speaking to your accountant or the Australian Tax Office. We’ve also had many customers take advantage of their tax refunds by using those sums to pay for RPL qualifications – and of course, we think education is always a good investment!

An onsite assessment is when an assessor visits the student in their workplace and observes them undertaking their regular work. While observing them, the assessor will be collecting evidence which can be used in the RPL process. This is a method of producing evidence towards a qualification that can be an alternative to producing documentation, if suitable. Conditions apply.

Credit transfer applies if you have already completed a particular unit within a course. In order to receive credit, you’ll need to provide a statement of attainment or a transcript that shows the unit as completed. If it was some time ago that you studied, one or more of the units you studied may have been superseded. This means that they have been updated, and you need to complete the unit again.

Recognition of Prior Learning applies if you haven’t studied the unit previously, or if you have but it’s been superseded, and you have sufficient experience in that particular area to prove you don’t need to study it again. If you think you could be eligible for a credit transfer, we can help you with this.

Many people who have gained qualifications with Churchill Education have used them to gain credit towards further education, including Bachelor degrees or Masters at university. All nationally recognised qualifications can be used for credit transfer. Most universities state that the amount of credit granted depends on the specific application of an individual.

RCC refers to the assessment of a person’s current capacity to perform. It applies if an individual has previously successfully completed the requirements for a unit of competency or a module and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

RPL/RCC tend to be used interchangeably.

EOFY Bonus!

When you enrol and pay for qualifications during June, you will also receive the Churchill EOFY Bonus (valued at $700)!

Turn your career experience into qualifications with Recognition of Prior Learning.  Apply for a free assessment today!

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