Gaining qualification in APT through recognition of prior learning

Information sheet 3

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

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Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the process of assessing and granting credit to students for skills, knowledge and experience gained through work and life experience and previous learning and studies.

There are several Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that offer Recognition of Prior Learning where students who are experienced in their proposed field of study can have their knowledge and competence assessed, through the RPL process, to provide credits against their studies.

What is Accredited Permaculture Training (APT)?

Accredited courses in Permaculture have been available throughout Australia since 2003, and are now included in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management Training Package. These courses include Certificates I to IV in Permaculture and Diploma of Permaculture.

APT qualifications are a part of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. The qualifications are designed to offer training in permaculture practices and techniques, and in professional skills related to sustainable living. They are not a replacement for the Permaculture Design Course (PDC) which is not accredited in the Australian vocational training system. These courses constitute competency-based training with full access to state and federal government subsidies to study, where these apply.

Why would you want to gain Accredited Permaculture qualifications through the RPL process?

  • to capitalise on the knowledge and skills gained through earlier permaculture, horticulture and agriculture training and participation in related projects
  • to have experience gained as a long-term permaculture practitioner formally recognised in the agriculture, horticulture & conservation industries
  • in order to become qualified as an accredited permaculture teacher/trainer for schools, TAFE and RTOs and for personal professional development
  • to develop a successful career path in the permaculture, horticulture, agriculture and conservation industries
  • to help generate a regular income, professional or contract fees through work as a permaculture land manager, project manager, designer or consultant or through associated agriculture, horticulture or conservation-based work
  • tn order to integrate Accredited Permaculture units into studies for horticulture and agriculture qualifications e.g to specialise in permaculture design
  • so that accredited permaculture qualifications can be credited to University and post-graduate studies.

RPL for teachers at schools with school gardens

Where schools have a school garden, teachers may wish to improve their qualifications and learn, not only how to ensure the gardens are productive in produce & bio-diversity but how to use them to engage students in relevant and authentic learning experiences. More and more schools and teachers are already seeing the value of hands-on outdoor learning experiences that address a variety of learning styles in primary education. The benefits can also be applied by secondary schools by offering Cert I or II in Permaculture to their students. By qualifying in the Permaculture Demonstrator Skill Set, you would be in a good position to teach permaculture in secondary schools.

RPL for Facilitators operating gardens for communities, institutions, organisations and corporations

The opportunity to up-skill through the RPL process also applies to facilitators with institutions and organisations that have established gardens for their students, clients and communities.

Experienced employees, consultants and contractors with corporations involved in landscape establishment, restoration, re-vegetation and remediation will also benefit from undertaking permaculture training through the RPL process to improve their suite of skills, create new career pathways and project management opportunities.

 The qualifications that you may seek to gain through the RPL process

So where to from here?

  • research and contact Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to check if they are offering RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) for their Accredited Permaculture training courses. Costs for RPL vary widely
  • seek guidance and further information from Permaculture Australia via the Accredited Permaculture Training (APT) Working Group about the whereabouts of APT RPL assessors in your area
  • talk to the recommended RPL assessors to check their availability to assist you with RPL assessment.

For further information

…contact Permaculture Australia via the Education Working Group by emailing

Download Information Sheet 3