RPL: Recognition of Prior Learning

A process where fire safety professionals can claim a qualification through a process of:

  • Demonstrating they attended courses and personally developed to achieve competence
  • Providing evidence from workplace activities to demonstrate current competence

Demonstrating Competence

The qualifications can be achieved by either:

  1. Collection of evidence from courses to the qualification assessment criteria, or
  2. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) to the qualification assessment criteria, or
  3. Combination of 1 + 2


RPL is a term used by the QFQUAL and Awarding Bodies and may also be referred to as:

  • Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
  • Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)
  • Accreditation of Prior Achievement (APA)
  • Accreditation of Prior Learning and Achievement (APLA)
  • These terms broadly describe the same process.

Evidence sources

Some important points to remember about RPL:

  1. Applicants are required to provide evidence to key assessment criteria from the NOS
  2. Evidence may be obtained from a range of sources, the most common being:
    • Work place activities e.g. audit or risk assessment of premises, responding to building regulation applications
    • Course assessments
    • Telephone discussion
    • Technical questions
    • Assignments
    • Professional interview

Evidence currency

The process requires applicants to demonstrate that they are currently competent. Evidence which is two years old may demonstrate that an applicant was competent two years ago but it may not be valid now. The RPL process offers the following options to ensure evidence is current:

  1. Provide additional evidence to show competence has been maintained, or
  2. Provide evidence from an alternative source which is less than 12 months old