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RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning

What does it mean?

  • RPL is a path for someone, who has collected work experience and skills and wants to finally get a qualification.
  • Depending on your skills and knowledge – you can collect credits towards your full qualification. These have to be accredited by SAQA.

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process through which formal, non-formal and informal learning is 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. (Source: National Policy for the Implementation of RPL: par 30).

The aim is to make it possible to obtain formal recognition for knowledge gained throughout life, such as in workplaces and own reading or experiences.  The RPL process also entails providing support to a candidate to ensure that knowledge is discovered and displayed in terms of a relevant qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).


RPL accepts any relevant learning you have gained through:

  • Formal training
  • Workplace experience
  • General life experience

What must I do?

  • Choose the qualification you want to apply for.

NOTE: Only some institutions offer RPL.
Contact your local educational institutions to find out if they will accept your RLP for the qualification you want.

  • If you are struggling, contact a SETA to ask for assistance. CLICK HERE for a list of SETAs.
  • You will get the unit standards for that course.
  • Pay the fee for your assessment (skills test)
  • Assessment (shows the institution how skilled your are)
  • At the end of the assessment, you will be given unit credits towards your qualification depending on your skills in that trade.

For example:

For the past 5 years you have been working in a food manufacturing company. You believe YOU have as much knowledge and skills as the new guy with a Diploma in Supply Chain Management.

One of the unit standards could be: Manage and control raw materials (SAQA US ID 377600)

This ONE unit standard is worth 25 credits. If you know you can show your skills in the assessment that you know how to manage and control raw materials, you could achieve this sub-qualification.  It’s only one of many in a Level 6 qualification.

  • CLICK HERE  for Unit Standard and all the Assessment criteria

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