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Qualifying with Recognition of Prior Learning 

One of the pathways to becoming a qualified Artisan is by the way of an RPL Apprenticeship. In this way, you approach your qualification back-to-front. You have the workplace experience, but you don’t have the theory training. In other words, you have learned on the job. Now all you need is the recognized qualification.

Application requirements

Minimum requirements are that you should possess at least an N2 qualification PLUS at least 6 years of work experience in a specific trade.

Application process

You must make your application at a Trade Test Centre that is accredited for the trade you’re applying for. If your application meets the requirements,

you will be asked to prepare a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE). You will be assisted in this process by your Trade Test Centre advisor.

Preparing your PoE (Portfolio of Evidence)

Your Portfolio must include:

  • your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and any other certified supporting documents of qualifications
  • current and previous employment records
  • the trade-related duties you performed, together with any photographic proof where available.

If you have been self-employed, you provide proof of trade-related evidence and affidavits (signed in the presence of an officer of the law) from clients and a community.

The evaluation process

A Technical Panel comprising of at least one qualified artisan for your particular trade, who is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) plus an approved and registered moderator/assessor will evaluate your PoE to determine your compliance with the criteria as set out by the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB). If you meet the criteria, you will be registered to undergo the ARPL process of evaluation and assessment in an interview.

The Evaluation/Interview process

Your interview will be conducted by an assessor. You will be given a checklist with an overview of your specific trade to determine the extent of your theoretical and practical knowledge. This will help the assessor determine your level of competence. Next, your completed checklist will be signed by you, the assessor and a witness. You will then be given feedback on what gaps were identified and how they will be addressed.


After the interview, the Assessor will give feedback regarding any gaps which may have been identified. The Assessor will, together with the candidate, agree on the extent of the gaps identified and how the gaps are to be closed.

A report will be drafted and given to you to hand to the accredited Skills Development Programme for gap closure. A copy of the signed report must be included in the PoE.

The Assessor will then refer you for gap closure to an accredited SDP or an approved workplace closest to you. You will be referred through the following routes:

Route A:

If you completed the assessment with few gaps, you will be referred directly to Phase 1, 2 and Workplace experience assessment.

Route B:

If you are required to undergo gap closure, a focussed programme for your trade will be developed by the accredited SDP or an approved workplace.

Phase Assessments

Knowledge/Theory Assessment

When gaps have been closed at the accredited SDP or training centre, Assessment of Trade knowledge will be conducted to determine your depth of knowledge against a set of questions based on the particular trade.

Practical Task Assessment

Where gaps are identified related to your trade practice, you will be required to perform Practical tasks related to your particular trade. At least two or more different integrated tasks are assessed to determine whether you have the skills and knowledge required. These tasks may be similar in format to the tasks you may receive in the trade test.

Workplace Experience

If you are currently in employment, an assessor may come to your workplace as you perform your daily duties. If you are self-employed or unemployed, the evaluation interview will determine the level and extent of the workplace experience you have.

Technical Portfolio of Evidence

Once all these assessments are completed, your assessor will help you update your PoE. This then is your Technical PoE. The recommendation of the Assessor for trade testing will be included in the PoE as well as the process you must follow to book your test.

For more information visit the National Artisan Development Support Centre 



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