Recognition of Prior Learning

Overview

ADAS understands that there are many competent divers out in the workforce who are not ADAS certified and functioning quite happily. Those divers, for whatever reason (e.g. to comply with the law regarding construction diving, to improve their employment chances, etc) may at some point decide that they want an ADAS certificate. These divers may have been diving for years and have hundreds of dives under their belt and maybe thousands of hours in the water. For these reasons, ADAS has developed a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) system which takes a divers previous training and experience into consideration.

Divers in these circumstances are not able to automatically receive an ADAS certification without going through the RPL process because:

  • ADAS has, in conjunction with its national industry advisors and its international partner certification organisations, put together a highly developed set of Diver Competence Standards. These standards cover all aspects of diver safety and basic procedures for each level of certification. ADAS is committed, through its agreements with its partners, to ensuring that each and every diver who receives an ADAS certificate has been assessed against those standards – whether by ADAS or one of its international partners.
  • There are a range of procedures in use throughout the industry, some good, some bad, some just different. ADAS is totally committed to ensuring that its standards are set at the level of world best practice and to continuously reviewing and improving those standards wherever possible.
  • With a number of Accredited Training Establishments (ATEs) accredited to train ADAS divers, ADAS has developed a strict set of standard procedures which the ATEs must use to ensure consistency across the range of those schools. Every ADAS graduate should have the same set of base skills and knowledge for a given course. This is particularly important in the area of standby diver drills, diver rescue, and accident and emergency management. ADAS needs to ensure, for quality control, standardisation and liability reasons, that every diver that possesses an ADAS certificate has been assessed against this range of skills and knowledge.

ALL divers applying for ADAS certification MUST undertake a full practical and theory assessment of their skills and knowledge against the nominated ADAS Diver Competency Standards for that ADAS qualification.  The only exception to this rule is for those divers crossing-over from an organisation with whom ADAS has a formal reciprocal recognition agreement (e.g. the UK Health and Safety Executive, the Diver Certification Board of Canada, etc).  More information about crossing-over can be found on the International and Military Equivalents page of the website.

Recognition Process

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the acknowledgement of competencies obtained through formal training, work experience and life experience. RPL processes are available to all potential applicants and will be conducted in a manner fair to all parties involved. Through these processes ADAS will determine whether a person has already developed any of the skills and knowledge which would normally be acquired in a program of training. This gives applicants the opportunity to gain credentials without the duplication of learning effort.

Divers who can show formal logbook evidence of comprehensive relevant theoretical knowledge and workplace experience may claim up to a maximum of two weeks credit towards the normal training times specified for each level of training for which they are applying.

The maximum amount of credit is based on the assessment by ADAS that divers who have not undertaken formal diving training will not have been exposed to the required standard of training in safety-critical activities such as emergency procedures, rescues and risk assessment.

While the diver will be awarded credit (reduced training time) during the relevant period they must still undergo all assessments for the competencies relevant to the training.

Assessment of Experience

A comprehensive desktop assessment is to be undertaken of each candidate’s current theory and practical competencies against the ADAS diver Competency Standards to gauge the applicants level of theory knowledge and practical ability.

The ATE is to establish that candidates possess a strong claim to any of the practical diving competencies as identified in the ADAS Diver Competency Standards. The ATE is to identify those competencies that can be justifiably claimed and those for which the diver is deficient.

The candidate is then to:

  • Undertake theory and practical training in all areas identified as deficient
  • Undertake formal assessment of all ADAS competencies.

The theory assessment is to cover the full scope of ADAS theory competencies, including physics, physiology, anatomy, diving medicine, OHS legislation, standards, regulations, ADAS diver requirements, knots, CPR, resuscitation/O2 management, search patterns, equipment theory including compressors and chambers, records, logbooks, communications, tool safety, DCIEM tables, risk assessment, and those competencies specific to the relevant level.

A pass mark of 75% must be achieved with all ‘no fail’ theory areas passed in full.

The practical assessment dives are to include all those required in a full Part 1, 2 and 3 course.

More information about how to apply for RPL can be gained by contacting an ADAS ATE.

Prerequisites for RPL

To ensure consistency with the ADAS training establishments, ATEs are required to comply with strict procedures in regard to the conditions and the standards under which RPL may be administered.  Before accepting trainees for training and assessment, the ATE is responsible for ensuring that the candidates:

  • Meet the required prerequisites regarding medical and physical fitness, age and maturity and academic ability.
  • Have certified formal logbook evidence of the number of dives and bottom time required at the relevant levels (shown below). In the case of applicants who do not satisfy the requirement for time at relevant levels but who have extensive workplace experience, ATEs may seek exemption from the Executive Director ADAS.

Trainees who have achieved recreational instructor qualifications from either PADI, NASDS, SSI or NAUI or from an ADAS-approved equivalent may be exempted from the first week of the Part 1 course.  Where the trainee can demonstrate exceptional experience and qualifications as a recreational instructor, up to 2 weeks credit can be sought – subject to prior approval being gained from the Executive Director ADAS.

Required Diving Experience for RPL

The following table details the number of dives and bottom time (in minutes) required at the relevant levels to qualify for an RPL. It is important to note that the times listed for the Part 3 RPL must have been undertaken in an offshore environment.

Depth
(metres)
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Dives
(number)
Times
(minutes)
Dives
(number)
Times
(minutes)
Dives
(number)
Times
(minutes)
0–10 18 780 24 1380 2 60
10–20 12 330 12 330 10 65
20–30 12 210 12 210 2 40
30–40 6 120
40–50 4 60
Plus Part 1 42 1320 42 1320
Plus Part 2 48 1920
Total 42 1320 90 3240 114 3585

Eligible Experience for RPL

Experience submitted in support of RPL claims must be in the form of logged dives, with original logbooks submitted. Each entry must have been signed by the candidate, countersigned by the dive supervisor and verified with a contractors stamp. If it is difficult for original logbooks to be sent, candidates may send photocopies, but the originals must be produced to the ATE before the RPL takes place.

The experience must be occupational employment.

To expedite the assessment and monitoring processes, candidates are to compile a summary of their dives for submission with their logbooks.

In cases where a candidate has not kept a logbook, they cannot be considered for assessment using letters of reference from past employers alone. If they are able, candidates can produce records of dives from:

  • Company dive records
  • Computer logs signed, dated and stamped by the employer/supervisor.

The alternative evidence is to be approved by the Executive Director ADAS before they are accepted for the assessment.

In all cases, the RPL candidate must complete and sign the relevant ADAS statutory declaration which certifies their claim to this experience (at the level of qualification for which they are applying) before the assessment begins.

Claiming Credit for Previous Experience

It is the candidate’s responsibility to gather sufficient evidence to support his/her application for recognition. This evidence may include:

  • Obtaining a copy of the relevant units of competency from ADAS.
  • Aligning the competencies for the qualification with the competencies associated with previous education, training or workplace experience.
  • Collecting any documentation, references and relevant examples to support your application.
  • Providing proof of ownership of any examples of work.
  • Submitting certified copies of qualifications. Certification can generally be obtained from any bank or Post Office as long as identification is provided.

Part 4 RPL Candidates

Applicants applying for an ADAS Part 4 certification must supply evidence of sufficient experience as a Closed Bell diver including:

  • Must have been employed in commercial bell diving operations.
  • Bell diving experience can only be considered if the candidate holds a Part 3 certificate, and has one year of diving experience breathing air or gas mixtures to a maximum depth of 50 metres. This must include 50 hours bottom time, with 10 hours of that time at depths greater than 20 metres, including 6 hours at depths greater than 30 metres.
  • The logged record of bell diving operations must include the following dives:
    • 48 lock outs from a bell of which at least 20 should be working dives below 50 metres, during which a commercial task was carried out. One lock out only is permitted in any one bell run.
    • 10 simulated rescues of an unconscious diver.
    • 3 bell bounce dives to depths of 50 metres, 75 metres and 100 metres each, or where the candidate has saturation experience to at least 100 metres they should have logged 3 bounce dives in excess of 55 metres.

Ineligible Experience for RPL

Ineligible experience includes:

  • Recreational dives
  • Dives undertaken as recreational diving instructors
  • Dives undertaken in a training context (unless armed forces training for operational warfare).

Recognition of Formal Training (RFT)

ATEs may apply to the Executive Director ADAS to bypass the RPL training requirement and undertake a full competency assessment of a diver who has:

  • Qualified at a course of formal training equivalent to that of the relevant ADAS Part(s) conducted by a diver training organisation not formally recognised by ADAS. Proof of such qualification must be established by certified documentary evidence.
  • Certified formal logbook evidence of at least double the number of dives and bottom time required at the relevant levels.

Once approved by the Executive Director ADAS, every applicant is to undertake a comprehensive theory competency assessment at the beginning of the assessment process to gauge the level of theory knowledge.

This theory assessment is to cover the full scope of ADAS theory competencies, including physics, physiology, anatomy, diving medicine, OH&S legislation, standards, regulations, ADAS diver requirements, knots, CPR, resuscitation/O2 management, search patterns, equipment theory including compressors and chambers, records, logbooks, communications, tool safety, DCIEM tables, hazard analysis, and those competencies specific to the relevant level.

If a pass mark of 75% is achieved with ‘no fail’ areas passed in full, the applicant can be allowed to complete the practical competency assessment.

The practical competency assessment is completed by undertaking each of the assessment dives for a full Part 1, 2 and 3 course.

Full records must be retained.

Recognition of Prior Learning – Exceptional Circumstances (RPL-EC)

ATEs may apply to the Executive Director ADAS to gain ADAS qualifications on behalf of candidates with exceptional professional credentials not formally recognised by ADAS, but with proven quality formal training and with documented high standards of experience gained over many years within the international diving industry.

Before making application to the Executive Director ADAS, ATEs are to ensure that the candidate has:

  • Met the standard ADAS prerequisites.
  • Qualified at a course of formal training equivalent to that of one or more of the relevant ADAS Parts conducted by a diver training organisation not formally recognised by ADAS. Proof of such qualification must be established by certified documentary evidence.
  • Certified formal logbook evidence of at least double the number of dives and bottom time required at the relevant levels.
  • Documentary evidence of an exceptional level of diving experience over a number of years in the international offshore industry.

Applications to the Executive Director ADAS by the ATEs are to include:

  • Certified evidence of prerequisites
  • Certified evidence of formal training
  • Certified evidence of dives and dive times
  • Certified evidence of industry experience
  • A comprehensive desktop assessment of their current theory and practical competencies against the ADAS diver Competency Standards to gauge the level of theory knowledge and practical ability
  • An assessment program specific to the candidate which confirms any theory an/or practical competencies not clearly assessed in point above.

RPL-EC applicants who have not been approved by the ADAS Executive Director will not be issued with an ADAS certification but may be eligible to undertake either the RPL or RFT process.

> Contact ADAS for more information.