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Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) means you can get recognition for the knowledge and skills you have already gained, to support your personal and career development.

Prior learning can come from life experiences, school, paid or unpaid work, short courses or learning at college or university. 

Read the guidance

Read the full recognition of prior learning (RPL) guidance to help you through the process here


RPL and qualifications 

You may be able to use your existing learning, providing evidence of your knowledge, skills and understanding, for RPL to gain credit points towards a qualification to shorten the normal period of study.

Not all learning providers accept RPL, check with your chosen learning provider before starting your RPL journey.  


RPL and continuous professional learning 

CPL is the learning we do for work which helps us develop our knowledge, skills and professional behaviour so we can deliver our best practice. You must complete CPL to maintain your SSSC registration. 

RPL can be a way of supporting your CPL. Find out how in the RPL guide.



What counts as prior learning? 

There are three different types of learning that can count as prior learning.  

  • Learning gained through personal experience in day-to-day life, volunteering or professional contexts where a certificate was not issued. 
  • Training or learning that shows achievement (more than a certificate of attendance) that has been certificated by an awarding body but is not credit rated on the SCQF Framework.
  • Training or learning that has been certificated and credit rated on the SCQF Framework and equivalent frameworks. 


How should I record my prior learning? 

It’s up to you how to record your prior learning, you can use a written journal, video, audio, diagrams, mind maps or a reflective diary.

You can also use our MyLearning app or gain Open Badges to get recognition for your learning.

Remember to include how your learning made a difference to your practice and to anonymise any record of your work or learning that refers to colleagues and people who use services.


Gathering your evidence for RPL

If you and your learning provider decide to start the RPL process you will need to gather evidence of your knowledge, skills and understanding which shows how it applies to your current practice and training and learning needs.

You’ll also have to include how it relates to the National Occupational Standards (NOS).


Assessing your RPL

Your learning provider assess your evidence to decide if they will award credit points for it and you will continue your studies.

You can gain some credit for RPL but it’s not possible to achieve an entire qualification just using RPL.


Find out more about registering with the SSSC including what qualifications you need and how much it costs.

Supporting the workforce

Discover our free learning resources and how our work can support your learning and development.

Fitness to practise

Read more about our fitness to practise process, registrant responsibilities and how to make a complaint about a worker.