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What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process through which your skills, knowledge and experience can be converted into nationally recognised qualifications.

Churchill Education has been Australia’s most trusted independent RPL provider since 2006.

Being awarded qualifications through RPL means that you don’t have to study what you already know. Instead you provide evidence that you already have the knowledge and skills that studying the qualification would give you.

Evidence for an RPL assessment can be attained through both paid and voluntary work, in Australia and overseas.

Qualifications gained through RPL range from certificates to diplomas and advanced diplomas, all the way up to graduate diplomas.

A minimum of six months of relevant experience is required and the experience cited as evidence must be from the last five years.

Is it hard to get RPL qualifications? Do I have to do a lot of work?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about RPL. It certainly can be difficult and time consuming with other providers, or if you try to do it yourself. But that’s where we come in.

We’ve been doing this since 2006, so our role is to make it easy and straight forward for you.

There is a team of people within Churchill who will work on your application, and a rigorous process that we undertake to ensure you receive qualifications that accurately reflect your skills and experience. However from your point of view it’s an easy, straight forward process that will take between 7 and 14 days from enrollment.

Co-Founder Randall Smith explains this in more detail in this short video:


Who is RPL for?

Recognition of prior learning is for you if you want to:

  • Secure a new job or internal promotion
  • Change industries or professions
  • Increase your career security
  • Apply for a pay rise
  • Re-enter the workforce
  • Gain credit towards university study
  • Meet industry compliance requirements

Applying for a job with a formal qualification rather than just your practical experience gives employers confidence in your skill level.

Infact, in many cases you will be completely overlooked if you can’t show national qualifications. This was very much the case for our client Brett. RPL was a complete game changer for him. You can read all about that here.

RPL is a lot more than just a piece of paper…

We find that the process of being awarded nationally recognised qualifications through RPL  brings an important feeling of self-worth, particularly for those of us who find ourselves “between jobs” for whatever reason.

This was certainly the case for Randall who, after being sidelined due to PTSD, felt like his 16 years of police experience was completely worthless on the outside.

As Randal and Tricia explain next, the process of gaining RPL was transformative for Randall. It proved to himself and the world that his experience was valuable, he was skilled, and he was capable:


What’s involved in Churchill’s RPL Process?

In a nutshell it’s a three-step process:

  1. We conduct a free preliminary skills assessment 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!

Of course there is a lot more to it than that. We have expanded on it here, but sometimes it’s easier to understand something by explaining it in person, rather than reading about it… So here’s Randall again giving you an explanation of the Churchill RPL process:

What industries can I get RPL in?

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 Leadership and Management, Work Health and Safety, Security and Risk, Business, Education and Training, Government and Investigations, Community and Youth Work, and Early Childhood.



How do I prove what skills and knowledge I have?

In order to prove that your skills and knowledge are sufficient to qualify you for qualifications through RPL, you’ll need to provide evidence.

There are many forms of evidence that you can provide. The types of evidence required depends on the qualification you are seeking. Your Skills Development Advisor will tell you exactly what is required.


Are your RPL qualifications official?

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.

Note: Many people ask if RPL will be mentioned on your qualification. The answer is no. RPL is simply an alternate pathway to studying.


How much does it cost?

RPL qualifications available through Churchill Education range from Certificate II – all the way up to Graduate Diplomas. Accordingly, prices range from $995 – $3500 according to the qualification and level. You’ll find this information in the ‘Fees and Payment’ tab at the bottom of each qualification page.

A good rule of thumb is that RPL qualifications cost around 50% of the cost to study.


Curious to know how others have used RPL to supercharge their careers?

Here are a few of our most popular case studies. You’ll find plenty more on our blog.

Work-Life Balance with RPLWork-Life Balance with RPL
Brett left Victoria Police after 27 years with no formal qualifications. After months of knock-backs RPL immediately landed him his dream job.



RPL for Women in DefenceRPL for Women in Defence
WO1 Allison converted a 30 year defence career into nationally recognised qualifications through RPL and walked into a civilian career quickly and easily.



RPL for Mining

Mining RPL: Gone Bush to Running the Show
Jeremy converted half a lifetime of bottom up vocational mining skill to an impressive list of qualifications all the way up to graduate diplomas. Now he’s running the show!


Shelly’s Advice for Building a Thriving Career with RPL

Shelly is staying current and ready for new opportunities with nationally recognised qualifications that show the value of her experience in a rapidly changing economy.


Kenneth CarterMilitary RPL Helped Ken Transition from Commando to WHS
Ken says gaining RPL qualifications was central to his smooth transition from Defence to private sector WHS employment.




Still got questions?

You’ll find answers to all our most frequently asked questions here:



Would you like to know what RPL qualifications you might be eligible for? 

You can either fill in the form below, or call us direct on: 1300 793 002

Got questions, but not ready for a skills assessment?

You can send us a live chat message here on this page… Or you can email us.



Find out what you’re eligible for:

  • Want us to get started on your assessment? Upload your CV.
    Drop files here or


Maurie Fatnowna

Copper to Rugby CEO: RPL for the Future

Former detective sergeant, and current rugby CEO – Maurie Fatnowna discusses career transition, RPL for police, and the importance of always planning for your next career move.

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Brendan Maccione - Black Dog

Taming the Black Dog: The Dream Became a Nightmare

In this case study police officer Brendan talks about the black dog of PTSD, breaking point and the difference RPL has made to his self-esteem.

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Zoe Hutchinson - Churchill RPL

RPL for Women at the Top

Zoe Hutchinson, National Contract Manager for Wesfarmers, was able to transform a career in Quality Systems auditing, integrated risk management and senior level strategic thinking into three very impressive qualifications through RPL (recognition of prior learning).

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Derek Keir: Dream job with RPL

Derek Landed His Dream Job with RPL

In the following client case study you will find out how Churchill Education client – Derek Keir landed his dream job thanks to the qualifications he achieved through RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning).

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Glenn Upson Case Study

Be Flexible, Chase Your Dreams, Never Underestimate Yourself

From protecting ambassadors in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, to managing security for the Australian Cricket Team, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and global celebrities, Glenn Upson is a great example of the opportunities available in the Security Risk Management Industry.

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What our RPL customers are saying

I’ve got really good references, I’ve got good experience on my resume, I’ve got a can-do reputation. But that bit of paper can slide you over the line. I very often get second interviews, but don’t get the job. Now I’ve got that little bit of paper to put on my resume, I feel like I can go for any job that I want to go for and expect to get it.

– Kate Lind, RPL graduate

I think I’ve been disadvantaged because I haven’t had qualifications. I’ve seen colleagues that I’ve worked with progress and I haven’t, those guys having opportunities to move into other roles because they do have the qualification, they’re recognised for that qualification. So now I’ve got the advantage, I’ve got the edge.

– Stuart Brown, RPL graduate

Churchill Education were super professional, and great to deal with. I was awarded an advanced diploma through RPL, they steeped me through the process, worked with me, we’re there to answer or clarify any questions! They were great! And the fee for the qualification was between 1/2 price and 1/8th of price of some purge RTO’s. Thoroughly recommend them. AND THE RPL ASSESSMENT IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!

– Glenn Hargrave, RPL Customer

‘Great people, they helped me. I would recommend them.’

-Bob Keane, RPL Customer

I RPL’d my diploma with Churchill and it was super easy. Definitely recommend going through them if you’re keen in getting some quals.

-Mel-Ann, RPL Customer

I returned to work today to find your package with my Certificate and Diploma and wanted to write and say thanks to you and your team for making the process so hassle free. I have recommended Churchill Education to several colleagues who are looking to further their study, so don’t be surprised if you get a few more enquiries from the organisation.

-Evan, RPL Customer

Recently used CE for a few qualifications. Couldn’t have asked for a better company to deal with for RPL. Every bit of correspondence by phone or email was great. The most polite customer service team I have experienced in a long time.

Well done CE. Thanks for the quals.

-Luke, RPL Customer