RPL and mature aged jobseekers: final report

Document Type


Publication details

Cameron, R 2004, RPL and mature aged job seekers: final report, prepared for Adult Learning Australia.


Adult Learning Australia (ALA) has funded this research under an Innovative Research grant program. The research focus reflects ALA’s commitment to investigating ways to re-engage mature age job seekers in learning and the promotion of lifelong learning in general. The research compliments existing ALA research into the development of an Individual Learning Audit Process to assist mature age job seekers make productive learning choices (Cross & Brennan, 2003). The research involved the collection of data on recognition of prior learning (RPL) practice from providers of labour market programs (LMP) for mature age job seekers within the state of Queensland. The research was conducted using a combination of quantitative (telephone survey) and qualitative (case studies) research methods. The study investigated issues relating to current RPL practice and the potential for innovative RPL models and practice for mature age job seekers. Since its inception, RPL has carried with it the promise and potential for recognising the life and work experience of those who have been marginalised from formal learning. In particular it can be said to offer greater possibilities for mature age jobseekers, who have accumulated a wealth of life and work experience. Unfortunately, the reality of RPL practice and up take in Australia paints a very different picture. Those most likely to utilise RPL are students who work full time, are established in the workforce and already have significant educational capital to draw from. This research has provided some insights as to why mature age job seekers are not utilising RPL, as it currently practiced through Labour Market Programes in the state of Queensland.