Information for Registered Training Organisations

MT03 - AMSA Policy – STCW recognition of prior learning
MT 03
Information for Registered Training Organisations
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The following procedure provides detail of standards
acceptable to AMSA for an AMSA approved Registered
Training Organisation (RTO) to grant recognition of prior
learning (RPL) for STCW qualifications and short courses.
National Principles and Operational Guidelines for
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as contained in
AQF Implementation Handbook, 4th Edition, 2007;
Higher Education sector comply with the Tertiary
Education Quality and Standards Agency’s (TEQSA) Higher Education Standards
Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011;
Vocational Education and Training (VET) comply with
Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) Standards for Registered Training
Organisation (RTOs) 2015
“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means an
assessment process that assesses the competency/s
of an individual that may have been acquired through
formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the
extent to which that individual meets the requirements
specified in the training package or VET accredited
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Model
The International Convention on Standards of
Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for
Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW);
Marine Order 6 Marine Qualifications Radio (MO6);
a) formal learning refers to learning that takes place
through a structured program of instruction and is
linked to the attainment of an AQF qualification or
statement of attainment (for example, a certificate,
diploma or university degree);
Marine Order 70 (Seafarer Certification) 2014
Marine Order 71 (Masters and Deck Officers) 2014
Marine Order 72 (Engineer Officers) 2014 (MO72);
Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014 (MO73);
Maritime Training Package (MTP) latest version
published by the Transport & Logistics Industry Skills
Council (TLISC).
This procedure outlines the process to offer RPL to students
of AMSA approved courses.
As defined in the national Standards for Registered
Training Organisations (RTOs)
b) non-formal learning refers to learning that takes place
through a structured program of instruction, but does
not lead to the attainment of an AQF qualification
or statement of attainment (for example, in-house
professional development programs conducted by a
business); and
c)informal learning refers to learning that results
through experience of work-related, social,
family, hobby or leisure activities (for example the
acquisition of interpersonal skills developed through
several years as a sales representative).”
In the case of the Australian Maritime College (AMC)
reference should be made to the accredited curriculum
For clarification of other terms and abbreviations used
within this procedure refer to MT 01 Definitions.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Canberra ACT Australia - August 2015
AMSA 409 (8/15)
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MT03 - AMSA Policy – STCW recognition of prior learning
AMSA's policy is for an applicant for a Certificate of
Competency or Certificate of Rating issued under MO70MO73 to have completed a training course at an AMSA
approved RTO based on the TLISC Marine Training
Package (MTP).
The Standards for Registered Training Organisations
2015 requires all RTOs, including AMSA approved RTOs,
to offer RPL to students. The standards for the offering of
RPL that are contained in the AQF National Principles and
Operational Guidelines for Recognition of Prior Learning
(RPL) are acceptable to AMSA.
AMSA's policy is to require approved RTOs to align their
RPL procedures with the AQF National Principles and
Operational Guidelines for Recognition of Prior Learning
(RPL), and should include the following:
RPL assessment processes being comparable to
other assessment processes used to assess whether
the learning or competency outcomes in a subject,
module, unit, course or qualification have been met;
RPL policies, procedures, processes and
assessment outcomes being explicitly included
in sectoral or institutional quality assurance
mechanisms; and
in some sectors, this may include advice about
‘gap or bridging’ training or education that may
be necessary to meet the full requirements of the
All RTOs must clearly include the details of their RPL in
their application when applying for approval from AMSA.
This area will be specifically audited by AMSA.
AMSA’s policy, in order to ensure full compliance with
international STCW requirements, is for RPL to only be
granted after assessment to the same standard and same
quality assurance as required after full normal course
parity of esteem for qualifications gained through (or
partly through) RPL;
RPL policies and procedures that ensure the quality,
integrity and standing of Australian qualifications;
participation in exactly the same or modified versions
of the assessment the student would be required to
complete as part of the full course;
the model of RPL that is implemented being aligned
with the outcomes, goals and objectives of the
Direct credit transfer is accepted by AMSA between AMSA
approved RTOs which have the same competencies on
their scopes as other AMSA approved RTOs.
RPL assessment processes are of a comparable
standard to those used to deliver and assess the
Competency transfer (from non-AMSA approved
being subject to the quality assurance processes
used to ensure the standard and integrity of
assessment processes within sectors or institutions,
and validated and monitored in the same way other
assessment processes are validated and monitored;
RPL policies, procedures and processes being
explicitly included in quality assurance procedures
within organisations to ensure that qualifications
achieved in part or in full through PRL are of the
same quality and have the same standing as
qualifications achieved as a consequence of formal
education and training;
Formal learning (between AMSA approved RTOs)
Competency transfer from a non-AMSA approved RTO
requires the applicant to have previously completed an
equivalent or superior course and has passed a challenge
test that is equivalent to the RTO’s final assessment (see
note below for details).
Challenge test requirements relating to AMSA
certificate of competency RPL
The challenge test is to be based upon MTP
competencies and must cover all required
The challenge test must be of an equivalent standard
to that of a RTO final assessment;
it not being normally possible to gain an entire higher
education qualification using RPL;
The challenge test is to be carried out under AMSA
approved RTO examination criteria;
as with all assessment, RPL assessment should
be undertaken by academic or teaching staff with
expertise in the subject, content or skills area, as
well as knowledge of, and expertise in, RPL policies
and procedures;
The applicant is allowed only ONE attempt at the
examination – following the examination if the
applicant does not meet the standard they must
complete that competency/subject at an AMSA
approved RTO;
Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Canberra ACT Australia - August 2015
AMSA 409 (8/15)
Page 2 of 3
MT03 - AMSA Policy – STCW recognition of prior learning
To assist a person on a case by case basis, the
RPL arrangement is intended only for a singular
occurrence where a person has completed part or all
of a non-AMSA approved course. It is not intended as
a mechanism for AMSA approved RTOs or individuals
to circumvent AMSA’s obligations to approve, audit
and continually monitor all training involved in the
issue of STCW primary certificates. In this regard it
will not be allowed on a permanent recurring basis
for student groups undertaking part or all of their
studies at a non-AMSA approved organisation (within
Australia or overseas) to gain AMSA certificates;
RPL is an administrative procedure and is not intended
as an option for a candidate to proceed directly to
assessment without completion of the normal prerequisite training course. As such, and subject to the
AQF appeal mechanism, assessment under RPL is
a one-off administrative process and does not allow
for the re-sitting of assessments at either that RTO
or at any other RTO. If an assessment under RPL is
unsuccessful, then the person must complete the normal
training before undertaking the normal assessment;
The AMSA approved RTO is to keep records
(including assessment papers) for review during the
next AMSA audit.
Please note: AMSA will not conduct any RPL
assessments itself except under the most exceptional
circumstances where there is no option for that RPL
assessment to be conducted by an RTO.
RPL arrangements in respect to STCW short
Candidates who hold STCW short course certificates
issued by an overseas college, and those in Australia
who hold NSCV Part D elements of shipboard safety
certificates, will be required excepting those listed below,
to complete the FULL applicable AMSA approved STCW
short course. The RPL process of challenge testing these
candidates is not a practicable option, as the short courses
are by nature practical hands-on courses. For a candidate
to demonstrate competence they would have to complete
the appropriate course in its entirety.
Special cases
Elementary First Aid - STCW Code Section A-VI/1,
Table A-VI/1-3
AMSA will allow RPL (no challenge test) of either a current
Australian issued Senior First Aid certificate (such as issued
by the Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance) or completion
of a higher-grade medical aid course (such as Workplace
Level 2 First Aid, or Provide First Aid or higher) conducted
within Australia.
Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting – STCW Code Section
A-Vl/1, Table A-Vl/1-2
AMSA will allow RPL (no challenge test) if the applicant has
completed either the RAN Advanced Nuclear, Biological
and Chemical Defence (NBCD) course (including 2 days
practical fire fighting at HMAS Creswell) or the RAN
Advanced Combat Survivability (ACS) course (including
the fire fighting component).
Overseas students studying for a higher level certificate
AMSA will allow RPL (no challenge test) if the applicant has
completed a Deck Watchkeeper or Engine Watchkeeper
course overseas and has applied to study in Australia for
higher level certification.
ECDIS Reg ii/i and ii/2
AMSA will allow RPL (no challenge test) for ECDIS courses
conducted overseas subject to meeting the following
1) the candidate is living overseas;
2) the course is conducted in a country with which
Australia has a signed agreement;
3) the course is approved by the administration of that
4) the candidate is in possession of a letter from the
course provider stating that the person has attended
the course and that the course is approved by the
Engineer Watchkeepers – STCW Code Table A-III/1
– Trainee Engineer program
– Engineer Experience training program
STCW Code Table A-III/l Column 1 - RPL for Workshop
Skills Equivalent:
Maintenance and repair of electrical and electronic
ii. Use of appropriate hand tools, machine tools and
measuring instruments for fabrication and repair on
iii. Maintenance and repair of shipboard machinery of
AMSA will allow RPL (no challenge test). AMSA approved
RTOs must carry out RPL in accordance with Marine Order
72 Schedule 2, taking into account any relevant education,
skills or practical experience of the person. If required to
meet the requirement of STCW Reg III/l. the candidate
must be provided with a gap or bridging training schedule
to complete the RPL process.
With regard to the Senior First Aid certificate, the validity
period as indicated on the certificate will apply.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Canberra ACT Australia - August 2015
AMSA 409 (8/15)
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