RPL in rail signalling with HRD

Credit for existing knowledge and skills: RPL in rail signalling

Credit for your existing knowledge and skills can be obtained in several ways.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the formal recognition of a person’s current skills and knowledge, regardless of how, when or where the learning occurred. RPL asks that you provide evidence of how your knowledge and skills meet the requirements of a unit of competency or qualification.

Recognition of Current Competence (RCC) refers to the assessment of a person’s current capacity to perform. If you’ve already successfully completed the requirements of a unit of competency or a training module, you may need to be reassessed to confirm that your competence has been maintained.

Credit Transfer (CT) is a way of gaining credit in an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification on the basis that you’ve already completed part of that qualification (or another similar qualification) elsewhere.

RPL in rail signalling

There are different pathways for RPL in rail signalling, depending on the type and range of evidence you can present.

RPL by qualification alignment – Applicants holding an existing rail signalling qualification

If you hold the 21730VIC Certificate IV in Rail and Tram Signal Systems, your qualification has the same ‘value’ as the UEE41211 Certificate IV in Electrical–Rail Signalling. Both have similar knowledge and skill requirements, and both are nationally recognised.

However, some people wish to upgrade their 21730VIC to the UEE41211 qualification. HRD has a unit alignment matrix that allows you to compare the two qualifications.

If you are seeking the upgrade, be aware that there are ‘gaps’ and for which you’ll be required to provide evidence that you meet the knowledge and skill requirements of UEE units that don’t readily align to the 21730VIC.

There is also a unit alignment matrix for people who hold the ‘old’ UEE41210 Certificate IV in Electrical–Rail Signalling or units from it and who wish to bring their qualification into line with the current Certificate IV. You can also access a process map if you have a qualification and experience in a state other than Victoria.

Before undertaking a qualification alignment, HRD will discuss with you the value of undertaking the process.

The cost for RPL by qualification alignment can vary according to the information you present and the issuing body of the original qualification.

Applying for RPL based on workplace experience: I have experience, but no qualification

Prior to applying for RPL or RCC, and with what you may or may not already know about the unit(s)/training module(s) or qualification, there are some questions you should ask yourself.

Questions before you start
  • What informal or on-the-job training have I done that might be relevant?
  • How recently did I learn my skills – can I still recall how to apply them?
  • How can I prove that I can perform these skills or that I possess this knowledge?

Remember that ‘skills’ (and knowledge) includes planning and preparation, carrying out the task and follow-up activities such as reporting.

  • Can I present authentic documents that confirm I am able to do this work; for example, forms, reports, etc?
  • If I was asked to demonstrate my knowledge and skills, would I be able to perform the task without prompting and meet the required standard?

RPL can be a time-consuming process for both you and the assessor who’ll be assisting you and assessing your supporting evidence.

HRD will help you determine if you have a valid claim to RPL and provide you with evidence-gathering advice. To help you get an overall understanding of RPL with HRD Integrated Services, there’s an RPL process map for people who have experience but no Certificate IV qualification. You can refer to this in conjunction with the following information.

Applicants seeking RPL for the Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling

Step 1 Application and pre-assessment

Before you formally embark on RPL, HRD asks that you complete an application for consideration for RPL. HRD gathers information about your background, your training and what certificates and evidence of training you hold. This helps HRD to determine if there’s a valid RPL pathway for you or whether you may be best to undertake gap training.

You may also be asked to attend a pre-assessment interview to confirm that you understand what the qualification and/or competency standard(s) require, and to clarify how your work experience contributes to prior learning.

Currency of evidence

‘Competence’ requires demonstration of current performance, so the evidence collected must be from either the present or the very recent past. Competence is demonstrated at a point in time, but this doesn’t mean that a person is competent for all time. Therefore, competence must be maintained by use of skills (and knowledge) and/or retraining.

Evidence must also be relevant to what is outlined in current units of competency.

Making application

If your experience is relevant to what’s required to demonstrate competency, the HRD assessor will discuss with you a formal RPL application.

If your assessor recommends that you do not proceed with your application, you can still go ahead and gather evidence. However, remember that there are costs for the assessor’s time which must be borne by either you or your employer regardless of whether or not your application is successful.

Step 2 Enrolling

When applying for RPL/RCC you’ll be asked to supply a detailed portfolio of evidence to support your claim. Some of this evidence will quite possibly involve you undertaking a demonstration of task performance that confirms your knowledge and skills.

Before starting to gather evidence, you must enrol into the relevant Certificate or unit(s) of competency. At enrolment, an assessor will discuss with you the kinds of evidence you need to provide to support your case and what HRD requires you to do to demonstrate competence.

Step 3 Collecting evidence

Be mindful of the assessor’s recommendations when collectinig evidence. HRD must ensure that the evidence you provide is authentic, valid, reliable, current and sufficient.

Remember that if you’re undertaking RPL for a rail industry qualification or unit of competency, you will most likely need to demonstrate your competence through practical assessment. You must show that you can undertake the responsibilities for all safety measures, care of technology, plant and equipment, use of standards, manuals and procedures, and care of the environment, directly related to each work function. You may also be asked to complete a research assignment to gather evidence that you can meet knowledge requirements.

Remember also that you must demonstrate that you meet all aspects of the relevant unit(s) of competency or training module(s). If you need to demonstrate your skills in a ‘live’ or simulated environment, your assessor will organise this once HRD is satisfied that other evidence requirements can be met.

The assessor will meet with you to discuss your progress and to review your evidence portfolio, as required.

Step 4 Evidence submission

You may also be required to participate in an RPL assessment interview to validate your evidence and to check your knowledge and skills. This interview may take place in your workplace if it gives you the opportunity to better describe and demonstrate relevant job functions.

Step 5 Practical assessment

Once your supporting documents have been gathered and verified, you’ll undertake a series of practical assessments to demonstrate your skills and knowledge.

It’s at this point that you’ll find out whether or not you have demonstrated competence for the qualification or the unit(s) you’re applying for.

Step 6 Finalisation

An interview may be required to fianlise the RPL process.

Gap training

While your evidence may be enough to demonstrate your full competence, it could happen that the assessor identifies a gap between your knowledge and skills and what is required by a unit/training module. In this case, the assessor may suggest ‘gap training’ to ensure that your RPL application is successful.

If gap training is required, your RPL assessor will identify what is involved.


Notification of the outcome of your RPL application will be both verbal and confirmed in writing. If successful, you won’t need to attend classes or submit assignments for the qualification or unit(s).

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the RPL process you can appeal in writing to the Director, HRD Integrated Services.


There are costs associated with enrolment and processing your application/RPL, for meetings and assessor support, for practical assessment and for any gap training. The time required and cost of RPL assessment can vary according to individual circumstances and/or the level of technical detail of the qualification or unit of competency.

Contact HRD Integrated Services to discuss details.