Step 2: Gathering evidence

The evidence used to assess a claim for Skills Recognition comes from two primary sources:

  • evidence collected by the applicant
  • evidence collected by the assessor

Evidence falls into three broad categories:

  1. direct evidence: evidence the assessor observes first-hand (e.g. workplace demonstration, work sample, questioning the applicant)
  2. indirect evidence: evidence reported by someone else (e.g. third party report, workplace performance review)
  3. supplementary evidence: any other evidence that can indicate performance (e.g. training records, written work, portfolios)

In the past, there has been a reliance on requiring the applicant to supply extensive (often paper-based) documentation. However, while documents can support the Skills Recognition process, they are not sufficient to determine competence. This is particularly the case for operational roles in the rail industry where safety may be compromised if assessors rely on documentary evidence alone. Suitable forms of evidence will vary depending on the (potential) job role of the applicant and the skills they are seeking recognition for.

Some applicants will have a broad range of experience with minimal supporting documentary evidence. Others may have evidence which does not readily map onto the elements or performance criteria of the relevant unit(s) of competency.

Types of evidence

Link to types of evidence used in assessment i.e.


Evidence can include a range of written and non-written forms. It is advisable to include a variety of methods and a range of evidence types, as this increases confidence in the assessment. Evidence requirements must also meet industry needs.

Applicants may need assistance to collect and present useful, relevant evidence to support their application for Skills Recognition.

Certifications, formal qualifications, internal training

  • evidence of courses or training completed in or outside work: These could be certificates, diplomas or degrees, diplomas or certified transcripts of grades and subjects/courses undertaken, i.e. certified statements of results. These may have been gained through formal training, RPL or internal training. Examples include Senior First Aid certificate or completion of a higher-grade medical aid course (such as Workplace Level 2 First Aid) conducted within Australia. Check currency.
  • licences or tickets held: e.g. First aid, Forklift license, Heavy vehicle driving license, Site competencies (for example, Yellow card, RISSI card, Mine Inductions - RRTO Induction Standard 11, White Card (Construction Induction), Restricted Electrical Licence Training etc.).
  • workshop, conference or training programs: certificates of attendance. The applicant will need to indicate whether they attended, or actually participated in any of these, e.g. as a facilitator of a presentation or session or part thereof, or prepared any or all of the documentation, handouts, or PowerPoint etc.

Workplace documents

  • resumes, logbooks portfolios or e-portfolios: listing work history, key responsibilities, current skills, and other relevant experience
  • industry or merit awards
  • position descriptions (job specifications)
  • employment contracts which detail the applicant’s  job specifications with dates to check for currency
  • performance development (appraisal) plans
  • project or work activity reports: Photographs or pictures or visual recording of activities conducted. These “Point of view glasses”, i.e. in which visual and audio evidence recorded by the applicant or a colleague can demonstrate the applicant’s skills. This also allows groups to see demonstrations on screen. This is particularly useful in identifying the skills of workers geographically remote from the employer link to case studies
  • media articles: about the applicant at work, or the projects or in the teams which provides evidence of skills. e.g. Journals or diaries, work notes, emails or correspondence written by you, Minutes of meetings informing on your duties, Completed worksheets (task-sheets, job-sheets), Attendance records, Logbooks, Budgets, Recent payslips (These can demonstrate the applicant’s job level).

Documentary evidence for skills obtained through unpaid work

  • relevant voluntary work: e.g. the applicant may be a volunteer with the Country Fire Service. Engaging with conversations or volunteer engagement statements may provide relevant detail about all their responsibilities and skills.
  • relevant experiences in community organisations or professional bodies: e.g. the applicant may have been a treasurer in an organisation, which demonstrates the trust in which they are held. Coaching sport or other teams is relevant for any line management role.

Third part evidence

  • third party reports or testimonials: Another person may be able to write a detailed description of everything that the applicant does in their work role. This may certified, or be accompanied by a statutory declaration, signed and witnessed appropriately. A template for a standard third part report is included at the end of this section.
  • feedback or letters of appreciation from clients, partners or employers
  • supporting documents: emails or letters of support from employers, colleagues or community groups
  • membership of professional associations or community groups
  • referees: contact details of colleagues, clients or community representatives who are willing to be contacted to verify the applicant’s information.

Documentary evidence needs to be authenticated as far as possible. Check your RTO’s policy to determine whether certified documentation is required for quality assurance purposes.

Evidence gathering techniques, such as observation, competency conversation and workplace observation, should accommodate the different literacy levels, cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences of applicants. This means that consideration should be given to the fact that applicants may not be familiar with vocational training concepts or be able to understand educational jargon. An exception to this is assessing units in the Training and Assessment Training Package for which knowledge of VET concepts and educational language is essential.