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  • Writer's pictureSabrina

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in NZ

Over your career, you’ve gained knowledge, skills and experience. This might help or even be enough to obtain a current qualification for your industry. This process is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), 'Assessment' of your 'Prior Learning' (APL), or sometimes Recognition of Current Competence (RCC).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is about having your previous work experience and skills assessed so that you can obtain a formal qualification in New Zealand. Through this assessment process you can have the competencies you have obtained through formal and informal learning recognised in order to achieve a full or part of a qualification. Most education/program providers have an RPL policy.

For example, if you have skills and knowledge of coaching sports gained through significant experience, you may be able to be credited some or all of a sport and recreation qualification through RPL.

Prior learning is assessed in several ways, and which method is used will depend on the type of qualification you are seeking. The course/program provider will discuss the type of assessment you will need to do.

The assessment is made by a subject matter expert in your chosen field of study. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have achieved a certain standard of skill or knowledge that is highly relevant to that industry.

The most common assessment methods are:

  • a review of your work portfolio.

  • photos of work you’ve created

  • awards or certificates you’ve gained

  • letter from your employer stating the work you did and the standard you achieved.

Your learning may be also assessed with:

  • a test

  • practical assessments

  • interviews with assessors

Some organisations offer RPL towards Trade’s qualification. In this case you must meet special requirements such as:

  • be employed in NZ in the industry that relates to the qualification they are applying for RPL in

  • have the minimum years of experience in that industry/or similar trade

  • be a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, or hold a current work visa valid for the course of your training.

The benefits of RPL are that you:

  • have your informal learning recognised

  • avoid studying topics you already know about

  • complete the course faster

  • pay less for the course.

If you have years of work experience in your industry but no formal qualification, the RPL might be an option for you.


*Please note that you must meet the criteria in order to qualify for a RPL in New Zealand. Application fees, immigration status and other terms and conditions may apply.

*Please note that New Zealand immigration policies and their application and interpretation are subject to change without notice and users should not rely on any information on this page being relevant at a future date. Users must contact Newvisa Co. directly to receive specific immigration advice.

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