Frequently asked questions

What is recognition?

Recognition is the process by which you can demonstrate that you already possess the skills or competencies taught in a particular unit or qualification. TAFE NSW recognises skills and knowledge you may have gained in other courses, life experience, work or training provided at work. If your existing skills, knowledge or experience are found to be equivalent, you may be given credit for one or more units of competency.

When you apply for recognition, you need to provide evidence of your formal or informal study, work and life experience. Your skills and experience will then be assessed for credit against the qualification. If you are granted recognition, you may save a significant amount of time in completing your studies.

What are the benefits of recognition?

Recognition may help you to:

  • reduce the time required to complete your course or qualification
  • lower the cost of your government subsidised qualification
  • gain a work promotion or a pay rise
  • meet the entry requirements for higher level qualifications
  • identify gaps in your knowledge and skills.

What is the difference between credit transfer and RPL?

Credit transfer is recognising your previous formal studies at TAFE or another registered training organisation. RPL is recognising skills, knowledge or experience you have gained outside of the formal education and training system.

When can I apply?

The best time to apply for recognition is when you enrol, or soon afterwards. During your course you can apply for recognition before the start of any unit. If you have already started a unit, we recommend that you apply no later than the third week after you began studying. It is important to attend classes for that particular unit until you have received notification that your application for recognition has been approved.

If you are not enrolled in a TAFE NSW course, you can apply for recognition at any time during the year.

How long will my recognition application take?

You will receive written notification within three weeks of lodging your application for recognition. A qualified TAFE NSW assessor will review your application and look for evidence that is relevant, authentic, recent, and sufficient. The evidence you provide must demonstrate that your skills and knowledge have met the learning outcomes or competencies of the units for which you have applied.

How much recognition can I be granted?

Up to 100% recognition of your qualification can be granted.

Is there a cost?

If you are enrolled in the course for which you are seeking recognition, there is no fee for assessment of your application, and your student fee may actually be reduced.

Where recognition is assessed before enrolment, a fee will apply. This is known as commercial recognition. The fee will be determined according to our commercial recognition policy.

Will my course fee be reduced?

If you are applying for recognition in a government subsidised course, your student fee will be reduced accordingly. For RPL, you will get a 50% reduction of the fee for the proportion of the course that is recognised as completed according to State Training Services guidelines. For credit transfer, you will get 100% reduction as no additional assessment is required.

If you are applying for recognition in a fee-for-service course, the time that it takes to complete the course may be reduced, but your course fee will remain the same.

What if I have lost my supporting documents?

You can ask the NSI assessor about other options to assess your competence. For example, a challenge activity, requesting duplicate documents from the issuing organisation, or written references from paid or volunteer work.

What is meant by relevant documentation?

The documents that you provide as evidence in your recognition application need to be relevant. Ensure that your documents meet the following criteria:

  • Include certified copies of your documents. Do not submit original documentation as the documents may not be returned; however, originals may need to be sighted by the NSI assessor.
  • Present your evidence in a way that shows how your experience, skills and knowledge match the learning outcomes.
  • Be selective and disciplined about your choice of evidence.
  • Organise your material logically, format it clearly and present it in plain English.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of assembled evidence that proves that you already have the skills and knowledge in the units or course for which you are seeking recognition.

What is a challenge activity?

You may be asked to demonstrate competence by completing an assignment agreed upon by you and your assessor. In some circumstances, you may sit existing tests prepared for students who have studied the unit or course in the usual way. This is subject to approval by the NSI assessor or head teacher.

What is meant by evidence?

Evidence is the information you gather and provide to an NSI assessor to demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge required to gain recognition. All evidence you provide will be checked by the assessor to ensure it is valid and authentic. The evidence you provide needs to map to the unit(s) of competency. Evidence might include presenting a portfolio of work, a resume, and records of workplace activities and/or letters of evidence.

It is quality of evidence that counts, not quantity.

You need to ensure that:

  • the evidence you provide covers the critical aspects and that it is sufficient
  • you have provided originals or certified copies.

Do I have to attend classes while I am waiting for
a decision?

Yes, you need to attend classes while the NSI assessor reviews your application for recognition. Your teacher will guide you on which units you should start with in order to complete your qualification.

Can my TVET qualification be credited towards a national
qualification?

Yes. Most schools have programs that link directly to national industry qualifications, so you can claim credit for those skills you already have.

Who do I ask about recognition?

Customer Service Officers and counsellors can give you general information and support on the recognition process. Head teachers and your class teachers can provide specific advice, support and information on how to apply for recognition in the qualification in which you are enrolled.

If you are not sure who to talk to, contact our Customer Service Team. They will be able to refer you to the relevant head teacher for your course.