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Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

At the University of Wolverhampton, we place value on experience and knowledge gained in the workplace. Our Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) scheme, allows what you learn at work to be officially recognised and used towards a higher education qualification.

What is Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning?

The Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning or APEL, is based on the idea that many adults acquire knowledge and skills through experience at work. The APEL process looks at the learning that takes place at work and relates it to credits, courses and modules in higher education. These credits can be used towards gaining a foundation degree and enable you to move more quickly through the course.

You can use APEL towards most foundation degrees to show the learning you have achieved through work.

What are foundation degrees?

Foundation degrees are recognised university-level qualifications, designed to equip you for a particular area of work – as well as giving you the general skills that are useful for all types of job. They integrate academic and work-based learning and are intended to provide you with the skills and knowledge relevant to your employment.

Typically, on foundation degrees, you will get the chance to learn in relevant workplaces such as a SureStart Centre or Children’s Centre, as well as the classroom and it is often possible to study flexibly. So whether you are looking to change job, return to work or boost your current career prospects, foundation degrees offer a route into higher education for people of all ages and backgrounds.

One of the important features of foundation degrees is that they will normally link to at least one programme leading to a Bachelors degree with honours.

It is therefore possible to top-up your foundation degree to a Bachelors degree with honours. 

Why claim credits through APEL?

APEL credits count toward the first level of the foundation degree – they can help you to complete your foundation degree more quickly. 

  • You can avoid having to repeat learning already undertaken at work.
  • You can save money.

For what ‘type’ of learning can APEL credits be awarded?

A wide range of work experiences could provide the opportunities to move more quickly through a foundation degree, although it is the ability to demonstrate your learning, rather than simply stating your experience which is the basis for being awarded higher education credits.

Since this learning will not have been previously assessed, a claim for APEL credits involves the submission of documents which form evidence for that learning.

There are some fundamental principles to the process of APEL:

  • Your learning must be measurable and credits cannot be awarded for experience alone – it is the learning that really counts.
  • To gain credits, your learning must be related to the course.
  • Learning must serve as a basis for further learning.
  • Learning should be related to your educational goals.
  • The assessment of APEL credits must be made by appropriate assessors.

How much APEL credit can I claim?

The minimum amount of credit which can be awarded is equivalent to one module, which equals 20 credits. The maximum amount is 40 credits.

Is there an expiry date for my learning?

There is no standard expiry date after which learning cannot be used to gain credit. However, a judgement will be made by the APEL Board as to how appropriate it would be to award credit that is not current. It may be necessary to provide evidence that the learning has been kept up to date.

How much does APEL cost?

To be confirmed.