A. Exemptions

Sometimes a unit standard is expired and replaced by a new unit standard with very similar learning outcomes.
In such cases learners who have achieved the earlier unit standard may be recognised as being competent in the new unit standard.
There are two ways to get this recognition depending on the qualification you are undertaking.


  • Where the previous and new unit standards are listed in an Exemption Table in your qualification, the learner is automatically exempt from having to complete the new unit standard if they have completed the previous unit standard. Therefore, they are exempt from having to complete the new unit standard.
  • When completing the qualification, the exempt unit standard will not appear on the trainee’s NZQA Record of Achievement (ROA), but it will count towards their qualification.
  • Because the exemption is approved by NZQA, the learner does not need to apply for the exemption.

B. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) cross credited to a Careerforce programme

Where the learner has a qualification (or assessed courses) that they have achieved previously (either in New Zealand or overseas) and that they believe could be cross credited against a Careerforce programme, they can apply for RPL. The prior learning has to be awarded within the past 12 years for it to be considered.
The learner should apply to Careerforce using the Recognition of Prior Learning form. If the application is successful Careerforce will register the achievement of the unit standard(s) with NZQA and it will appear on the learner’s Record of Achievement.

To apply for RPL the applicant needs to:

  • believe the prior learning will lead to or is equivalent to a Careerforce programme
  • state the Careerforce programme on the application form
  • complete all sections of the application form
  • attach identification documents
  • attach course descriptors and evidence of achievement
  • sign the completed application form
  • send application form and supporting documents to
    Post:      Client Services, Careerforce, PO Box 25 255, Christchurch 8144
    Fax:        03 371 9285
    Email:   info@careerforce.org.nz
    If you have any questions or require help with this process, please call our Client Services Team on 0800 277 486.