This case study describes how initiatives of single individuals can lead to broader Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) implementation within an organisation.
A middle-aged black woman who has been employed at e.tv (a private broadcaster in South Africa) since 1998 was responsible for starting the RPL there. This employee of e.tv obtained a matriculation certificate and has been employed in various junior administrative positions over the last 15 years. She has dedicated her life and finances to ensuring that her child receives a good education. Now in her mid-forties, with her child at university, she took a look at her life and her career, and decided that she wanted to develop her own skills. She applied for a more senior position within the company, also in the administrative field, despite the fact that she did not have the qualification as per the job requirements. After an interview, she was told that she was unsuccessful. She decided to address her own needs and spoke to the company’s training department and asked what her options were. It seemed that the lack of a formal qualification was the only hurdle standing in her way of climbing up the corporate ladder. She realised that all her years of work experience must count for something.
This was the starting point of the introduction of RPL at e.tv. Apart from being a private broadcaster, e.tv is also an accredited provider offering programmes related to the media sector, including RPL processes.
Procedures and processes
- With assistance from the e.tv training department, the woman employee at e.tv enrolled in a learning programme with potential to give her the recognition that she needed.
- She attended one day of classes every six weeks for a year and submitted work-related formative assignments between classes.
- At the end of this process, she completed a summative assessment which determined her overall competency.
- E.tv set up a team of mentors and the resources required helping her to achieve her goals.
- After a year she obtained the qualification through an RPL process.
- The RPL function was funded fully by the training department at e.tv.
After taking note of this success RPL story, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) liaised with e.tv to roll-out an RPL project for the whole organisation. A workshop was held to discuss concepts related to RPL and the processes that needed to be followed.
Outcomes and ways forward
Managers of e.tv decided to roll-out the RPL project for all staff in need of RPL including companies that are part of the e.tv group (e.sat TV (t/a eNews Channel Africa), Yired-FM (t/a YFM), Sabido Distribution, Lalela Music and Natural History Unit).
Source: UNESCO UIL