UCOL / Te Pukenga – Assessment of Prior Learning

March 14, 2023

UCOL  understands that many people have a vast amount of work experience  and life knowledge and skills however they  may not hold the qualifications to match.

UCOL recognises that individuals learn valuable skills and knowledge while working, living in the community and through volunteer work. This knowledge sometimes meets the standards to be able to be awarded credit for courses in programmes offered at UCOL. Occasionally the amount of knowledge and experience from work and life means that a whole qualification is achieved. Mostly though applicants will achieve some courses in a qualification, and would then enrol to study the remaining courses to finish that qualification. The applicant may already be well on their way to a recognised accredited New Zealand qualification. No need to give up their employment or time to attend training for things they already know.  

We use industry experienced staff to evaluate an applicant’s work and life experience and any courses or qualifications they have been awarded against the academic requirements of their chosen qualification.

Applicants will be assigned a facilitator who will help them explore and recognise the skills, knowledge and understanding they  have gained through professional experience.  They will coach the applicant to gather evidence of their skills and knowledge. 

When sufficient evidence is gathered this is presented for assessment.  The evidence is then matched against the graduate profiles of the qualification. When there is sufficient valid evidence credit is awarded for part or all of that qualification.

Where  gaps are found in an applicant’s learning we work with them to create a learning plan to complete the qualification.   

The advantage of Assessment of Prior Learning is that applicants don’t need to give up work, income or time to attend classes and study subjects that you already know.  The gathering of evidence (Portfolio) towards their assessment can be in their own time. Time-frames for completion will be negotiated with the facilitator and will usually be completed within one year.

Individuals have unique life and work experiences so each set of presented evidence is particular to the individual.  We treat each application with fairness  and evaluate  it on whether it matches the graduate profiles and learning outcomes of the qualification regardless of how that learning took place. We  value  that each of us have different life and work experiences that maybe matched against Graduate profiles of a qualification.

Why you should apply for APL?

If you apply for APL and your application is successful you could:

  • reduce or eliminate the need for any training in skills and knowledge you already have
  • save time by not needing to attend any or a reduced number of classes and completing unnecessary work
  • save money because you will not have to buy textbooks and other learning material
  • complete your  qualification in a shorter time
  • advance to a higher level qualification in a shorter time if desired
  • gain greater recognition of the skills and experience you already have, which could assist with transfer or promotion to a role that makes better use of your skills and interests.

Advantages to APL

  • APL can improve work and life opportunities
  • UCOL Value the uniqueness of the individual’s experiences
  • APL facilitates access for ‘non-traditional’ students – people who may not have had the opportunity to do further study.
  • APL acknowledges value of learning outside a formal setting, e.g. values and recognises learning in the workplace.
  • APL validates the worth of learning students have achieved by themselves
  • APL enables students to progress to other education and training programmes
  • APL eliminates unnecessary repetition and duplication of material already familiar to the student.
  • APL shortens the time necessary to earn a qualification – this motivates students who might otherwise be discouraged by the length of time required to complete a course or a particular programme of study.
  • APL enhances students’ pride and self-esteem for what they have accomplished as learners.
  • APL enhances students’ perception and understanding of learning as a lifelong process.
  • APL reduces the  costs of training
  • APL reduces  down-time while workers are in training
  • APL helps with  efficient identification of ‘skills gaps’ allowing for more focused training