Demystifying the latest artisan RPL process

The Artisan Training Institute (ATI) explains the latest Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process as prescribed by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), to assist candidates who wish to follow a career path in artisanal trades…

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Says Gerhardt van der Merwe, marketing and sales manager at ATI, “It appears there is still confusion about the new process, so we trust this statement will help clarify and fast-track the process for all individuals who wish to study these trades, as well as companies who wish to send their employees for artisanal training.”

Van der Merwe explains that the usual trade test preparation only is no longer sufficient for admission to study the trade of your choice. The DHET now stipulates that all ARPL candidates must also compile a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) that includes a Curriculum Vitae (CV), any other certified supporting documents of qualifications, current and previous employment together with the trade related duties performed. Photographic proof where applicable and available must also be included.

Candidates who are self-employed must provide proof of trade-related evidence and affidavits that are all signed in the presence of an officer of the law, from clients and a community leader that supports the request for ARPL. All documents in the PoE must align with the checklist provided by the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB). The checklist can be found on the DHET’s website: www.

The DHET now also requires that the following documents are added to a candidate’s PoE before the final trade test can be conducted:

  • Candidate evaluation / interview checklist;
  • Gap closure reports;
  • Phase assessments;
  • Documentary, audio-graphic or photographic proof of assessments done; and
  • The recommendation of the assessor for trade testing.

“As a result of all the additional requirements by the DHET, this process now takes much longer than it used to in the past,” says Van der Merwe. In addition to the PoE, all traditional steps and training must be completed. Despite the additional documentation that will be required in the PoE, candidates still need to go through the correct training processes.

This includes application, orientation, technical panel evaluation, registration, candidate evaluation / interview, feedback and referral, gap closure (if necessary), phase assessments, workplace experience evaluation, updating of PoE, re-evaluation (if necessary), appeal (if necessary) and getting a recommendation to take the final trade test.

Trades that currently need to adhere to the new process include diesel mechanics, welding, fitting and boiler makers. Electrical, millwrights, instrumentation and rigging do not have to adhere to these steps yet but will have to do so in the near future.

“In a bid to make this process just a little easier for artisanal candidates, the ATI offers an additional service, whereby we conduct a series of trade tests to help identify gaps and areas in a candidate’s skills set, that requires some attention,” concludes Van der Merwe.



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