Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL)

Thank you for your interest in Access to Recognised Training for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program for Hospitality Industry professionals and educators.
By choosing to apply for RPL with us you will be undertaking one of the most up-to-date industry relevant recognition programs available.
The Institute of Tourism Studies recognises that knowledge, skills and competencies can be gained in a variety
of ways; through formal education as well as training, workplace experience or general life experience.



What is RPL?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the process through which students can gain exemption to, or credit within a nationally recognised qualification course/s based on learning outcomes or competencies gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning.
The two most common methods for gaining skills recognition are:
1. Credit Transfer (CT)
2. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Credit Transfer (CT)
Credit Transfer assesses the initial course, subject or unit of competence that an individual is using to claim access to, exemption or the award of credit in, the destination course to determine the extent to which it is equivalent to the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards in a qualification.
Units to be considered for credit transfer will correspond substantially in content, objectives and standard to equivalent units in the Institute course.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL is a form of assessment which is the process of recognising a person’s skills and knowledge which they have acquired through previous training, education, work and/or general life experience. The benefits of RPL may be the reduced time a student has to spend attending class, undertaking assessments or relearning what they already know.
The evidence the applicant provides must be authentic (something they have prepared, produced or has been written about them by a relevant third party), and must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence.
The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration.
The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to grant credit for a subject, module, course or qualification.
In order to grant RPL the assessor must be confident that the client is currently competent against the endorsed industry or enterprise competency standards or outcomes specified in Malta Qualification Framework accredited courses as validated by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) in Malta. Further information may be found on the NCFHE website and this link provided.
Together we will lead you through a process of gathering while assessing the skills, knowledge and competencies that you have might have acquired throughout your career to date.

The Recognition for Prior Learning Flow Chart


What are you assessed against?
Formal qualifications are made up of a number of learning outcomes leading to a competence within a particular sector identified by sectoral skills committees, which are pegged within the Maltese Qualification Framework (MQF) in line with the European Qualification Framework (EQF). Further information may be seen on the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) website.

You will be assessed against these learning outcomes and competence even though you might not have achieved these through formal education but through informal and non-formal training and education. These may include working experience, continuous personal development, voluntary work, and letters of reference and or any relevant awards.
This includes the required skills and knowledge and the equipment and tools you need to complete a job.
You will also be required to upload identification documents and all documents submitted must be certified. This guide will walk you through the requirements and procedures such as certification, so keep it handy.

Pre-Conditions for RPL
Information prior to recognition is provided to help facilitate the process


  • Is the evidence your own work?
  • Are the qualifications, references and licences presented by you; authentic documents?


  • Does the evidence show that you can perform the competence while working?
  • Does the evidence demonstrate that through professional development, experience or continued employment that your skills and knowledge are current?


  • Does the evidence cover the full range of performance identified in the unit of competency?
  • Does the evidence show competence over a period of time?
  • Does the evidence show competence in a range of contexts?


  • Does the evidence relate to a unit of competence?
  • Does the evidence reflect the four dimensions of competency?
  • Does the evidence address the key competencies?

The RPL Process

  • Application Form
  • Student Identification
  • Identification of Module, Unit and Competences for RPL
  • Guidance Prior to RPL
  • Collection of Evidence
  • Presentation of Relevant Documents
  • Authenticity Declaration
  • Payment for RPL
  • Assessment
  • Feedback
  • Recognition
  • Appeals

Applying for RPL
Candidates of whom are interested to apply for RPL must either collect the application form from registrar’s office of The Institute of Tourism Studies or download an application form from here.
Once the application form is filled this must be returned or submitted to the registrar’s office at The Institute of Tourism Studies, Malta for further clarification and guidance.
Applications for RPL are only accepted if application together with the relevant documentation is submitted on time as indicated underneath.
RPL applications will be open in April with assessments taking place in May and June. Candidates may apply again in September with assessments taking place in October and November. These are again open in January with assessments taking place in February and March.
There are two stages in the Recognition for Prior Learning progression. The first stage of the process is to immediately seek guidance provided from The Institute of Tourism Studies RPL coordinator, collect valuable evidence and sit for an on line self- assessment prior to the second phase of the RPL process.
The on-line self-assessment is to assess whether enough learning outcomes or competencies which can be transferred into credits would be enough to move forward for the second phase or not.
After the outcome of the self-assessment the candidate may now decide to move on to the second phase of the process where assessment, outcome and feedback will be presented and be notified whether recognised as completed or not yet completed. Candidates will be notified of any skills or competency gap and the Institute of Tourism Studies can provide the necessary training to obtain these competences or learning outcomes against an agreed fee of which the candidate is obliged to pay.
Candidates may want to re-apply for the next available RPL, after training for the missing learning outcomes or competence have been provided.

Candidate Identification
Your Assessor must be able to confirm your identification before reviewing your supporting evidence. All your ID documents must be certified to confirm there authenticity. You must therefore

  • Gathering of all Identification documents.
  • Have each Identification document certified by qualified recognised professional.
  • Scan all identification documents and save them for later use.

Compulsory Key Competences
The institute have identified three main key competences that are considered and should by compulsory assessed as entry requirements for the benefit of candidates. Candidates have to sit for a staged assessment for these competences.
Candidates will be notified as to when to sit for this staged assessment prior to the RPL by the coordinator in charge of the RPL.

  • English Language competence based on the ability to understand, express and interpret thoughts, feelings and facts in both oral and written form (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in an appropriate range of societal contexts
  • Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology Mathematical competence is the ability to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and ratios in mental and written computation to solve a range of problems in everyday situations. The emphasis is on process and activity, as well as knowledge. Mathematical competence involves – to different degrees - the ability and willingness to use mathematical modes of thought (logical and spatial thinking) and presentation (formulas, models, constructs, graphs/charts). Scientific competence refers to the ability and willingness to use the body of knowledge and methodology employed to explain the natural world, in order to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions.
  • Digital competence involves the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology (IST) for work, leisure and communication. It is underpinned by basic skills in ICT: the use of computers to retrieve, assess, store, produce, present and exchange Information, and to communicate and participate in collaborative networks via the Internet.

These will be assessed against the required Level of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF)
Key Competences for Life-Long Learning.
Further explanation on these key competences may be seen in page 57 of the 4th revised edition Referencing Report of February 2016 in this link.

Identification of Degree or Diploma, Unit, Module or Competences for RPL
Candidates must clearly identify the degree, unit and module learning outcome or competences they wish to be assessed trough recognition for prior learning on the application form. Only a maximum of 50% of the total
European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) or European Credit Vocational Educational Training (ECVET) for a degree program or unit may be rewarded through credit transfer of the RPL.
Example 1: If a whole module is made of 60 ECTS’s only 30 ECTS can be transferred from Recognition for Prior Learning.
Example 2: If a learning outcome or competence has a number of ECTS allocated to it only half of these can be transferred from Recognition for Prior Learning assessment.
Again further information may be achieved form the NCFHE website or by clicking on this link.

Seeking Guidance Prior to RPL
It is important that a candidate seek guidance prior to RPL assessment and before the second phase of the actual assessment of RPL can commence. For this purpose the Institute of Tourism Studies have set up a specific email address for any queries or guidance a candidate might need.
Guidance may be provided by the Institute’s Recognition of Prior Learning appointed coordinator through email address. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Collection of Evidence
The process of gathering, certifying and uploading evidence in support of your RPL application is important to understand.
Evidence allows the Assessor/s to make an informed judgment on your ability to fulfil the requirements of the learning outcomes, skills or competences. The more evidence you can provide of your skills, knowledge and competences, the easier it is for an assessor to make a decision.

  • Gather all evidence in support of your application for RPL
  • Have certificates recognised by the Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre (MQRIC) before you arrange an appointment with the RPL Coordinator or your assessor/s. You can apply to get these recognised and pegged to a level here. 
  • Have each piece of evidence gathered neatly in your portfolio of evidence.
  • Collect or scan and save your completed certified evidence.
  • Download a copy of the Acknowledgment Receipt of Documents Submitted Form from here.
  • Fill in the correct details.
  • Present and submit all evidence into a portfolio.

For candidates coming from outside the European Union Countries they must have their certificates recognised by the MQRIC as described above and be certified at what EQF or MQF Level that certificate might by pegged to.

Relevant Documents
To help you understand better of what could be described as relevant documents we have identified three main examples of relevant documents that can be used as evidence and also their relevance in the chart below.

Examples of Evidence Relevant Documents

Your objective is to establish the strongest case for RPL as possible, therefore the amount and strength of your evidence is important when establishing a strong case for RPL.

Declaration of Authenticity
This declaration confirms that you understand all the conditions and requirements of the RPL process and that all work and personal details you supply are that of your own.
Please complete the following steps:

  • Download the Declaration of Authenticity Form from here.
  • Read the Declaration of Authenticity Form, it is important you understand all requirements.
  • Sign and Declaration of Authenticity Form and submit it attached to all your documents. Scan and save a copy of the Declaration Form.

Assessment Process
The final assessment involves you completing a one-on-one Technical Interview with a technical expert/ assessor qualified within that area, who will ask you a series of questions designed to find out about skills and competences you already possess while identifying any skills gaps and provide the necessary feedback.
The candidate will be notified about any interviews and or staged assessments by the RPL coordinator to make the necessary arrangements beforehand.
The assessor/s may reserve the right to ask for practical technical evidence at any time of the Recognition of Prior Learning if further stronger evidence may be needed.
For example, you may be asked to sit for a staged theoretical or practical assessment if the need may arise besides compulsory assessments mentioned in the section (key competences) above.
The final assessment will only take place if the application is submitted within the stipulated time frame and payment has been processed and in a possession of a verified receipt from the Institute of Tourism Studies account department.
No payment fee will be refunded at this stage.

Feedback / Recognition
Candidates will be provided with feedback and the final outcome once all the RPL assessments have taken place. The Institute of Tourism Studies reserves the right to keep the results and data collected from the assessment for a period of at least two years as these might be needed should the candidate decide to re-apply for RPL in the future.
New documents would have to be collected and presented once the two year period ends. Further feedback may be obtained from the Institute of Tourism Studies RPL coordinator.
A transcript for recognition of the assessment will be provided to allow transfer of the credits gained throughout the RPL Process.
A candidate has the right to appeal the decision taken during the RPL process if;

  •  The assessment was not made in accordance with the latest version of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) - Candidate Guide of The Institute of Tourism Studies
  •  Competency assessment process was not followed
  •  You believe that you were unfairly treated or discriminated against

How Can a Candidate Appeal?
A candidate may first wish to bring forward his/her objections to the RPL process in a formal written letter to The Institute of Tourism Studies RPL coordinator stating his/her objections . The RPL coordinator of the Institute of Tourism Studies will then proceed to look into issues or objections brought forward by the candidate.
The RPL coordinator will then audit the assessment and issue the final result regarding the RPL process. The result would be final.



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