Definition of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
This section provides a definition of RPL and highlights the central purpose of RPL.
1.1 Definition of RPL
The IWH PB’s definition and policy is located within the SAQA framework and definition of RPL and defines RPL as:
The principles and processes through which prior knowledge and skills of a person are made visible, mediated and assessed for the purposes of alternative access and admission, recognition and certification, or further learning and development.
The IWH PB’s RPL process is a multi-dimensional one. It is a process through which non-formal learning, informal learning as well as experience in the workplace are measured, mediated for recognition across different contexts and certified against the requirements for credit, access, inclusion or advancement in the formal education and training system, or workplace.
The IWH PB is mandated by SAQA to RPL skilled, experienced and knowledgeable persons against its registered designations, for ease of access and employment in the workplace. It is also expected of the Professional Body to assist, mentor and brief IWH PB recognised RPL providers on mechanisms for RPL against competencies to do a job.
Where individuals undertake a RPL assessment and are deemed not yet competent, the RPL initiative can serve to identify gaps in knowledge or skills. The gaps can then be addressed through targeted learning interventions by IWH PB recognised training providers. In this way, RPL is seen as an important enabling tool to facilitate equity, redress and life-long learning, as well as to ensure that individuals can participate productively in all aspects of the economy and society.
The IWH PB’s approach suggests that RPL assessment against a qualification/unit standard and RPL assessment against a designation are key elements of our RPL initiative, and that the key role of these RPL assessments are to ensure that individuals who are competent, experienced and knowledgeable receive proper recognition for, to either gain the credits against the relevant unit standards and/or a qualification or gets registered against a designation.
2. The role of the IWH PB in supporting related RPL processes
2.1 Principles to support the IWH PB’s RPL processes:
The IWH PB maintains that RPL can support a number of processes and activities related to the further development and employment of already experienced persons in the industry. While the primary purpose of RPL is to award formal credits on the NQF, the IWH PB has adopted a set of core principles to govern the auxiliary applications of RPL that are related to development and employment of experienced persons:
3. THE IWH PB’S RPL AGAINST A DESIGNATION INITIATIVE
RPL against a designation will be conducted in accordance with the set outcomes of the OCCUPATION, related to the designations as registered with SAQA. The IWH PB will implement RPL against designations in the following instances:
3.1 RPL against a designation in recognition of foreign training:
The IWH PB conduct RPL against a designations against certain international training programmes such as IRATA (UK) for Rope Access, as their programmes are equivalent to the NQF Rope Access unit standards (qualification).
The same can be done for Scaffolders trained according the CISRS (UK) and PASMA for Towers (where applicable).
3.2 RPL against a designation in recognition of workplace experience:
RPL can also be considered when a person has been working in the field for many years, and/or done in-house training (non-accredited), but never received a formal qualification. In this case, the person will be able to continue working within his/her occupation although he/she has not obtained the formal qualification. Strict criteria and rules will apply for this means of conferring a designation though and the person will have to complete a IWH Prof Body approved ‘RPL BOARD ASSESSMENT’.
RPL against prior learning for designation purposes can also be conducted if the person did another qualification which might be similar to the IWH PB’s approved underlying qualifications, and if the person pass the ‘RPL BOARD ASSESSMENT’.
4. AUDIT AND EVALUATION OF IWH PB RPL PROCESSES
The IWH PB will regularly conduct thorough audits as well as evaluation of its RPL against designation processes and will make the necessary changes when and where necessary to improve on its processes and procedures.
Any changes to the RPL processes will be discussed for approval by the IWH PB’s Skills & Ratification Committee. The auditing process will include checking the submitted Dossier’s of Competence as well as Assessment processes at the Providers sites. All evidence for the RPL of candidates has to be kept by the provider for a period of 5 years.