A Graduate of Real Life: The RPL Pathway

Recently we published our Work Health & Safety Industry Report. It is a guide for anyone wanting to get into the WHS industry, or progress their career. We asked our Alumni for feedback, and received the following story from Churchill graduate – Nigel Hammond. It is such a great example of the many paths to education, and the power of converting experience into qualifications through RPL (recognition of prior learning).

Nigel’s Story…

Many years ago I started my career as an apprentice, not really knowing my future or direction. I was not the best scholar during my teenage years, and was of the opinion that learning would start once I left. School seemed like a distraction at best, as my father’s work meant we moved around a lot, so the opportunity to settle and study was not always available. It wasn’t until I left school that I developed an appreciation for the education system.

I completed a four year apprenticeship as a Fitter and Turner. I achieved some great marks, and was awarded Apprentice of the Year. This gave me the encouragement to push further ahead with my studies. By this stage I had a young family to support, and a mortgage to pay. I was striving to achieve a better outcome for myself and my family, so I enrolled in night school through TAFE, and complete a Production Engineering Certificate over six years – fitting in study with raising a young family.

I said goodbye to the tools, and through determination and persistence I was accepted for production process and planning roles with a number of well recognised national manufacturing businesses. My experience in these positions boosted my confidence, as I knew I was building transferrable skills and knowledge.

I was given many challenging and rewarding projects. One example was working with a university engineering school to develop an advanced welding process using robotics, sensor tracking software and submerge arc welding techniques to improve a production process for a well known domestic hot water manufacture.

Adapting to Change

It was clear to me that large Australian manufacturers were starting to move their operations off shore; Australia was destined for a change. Employment opportunities were increasingly focusing on the service sector industries, and as such my skills needed to move as well.

I could see I’d have to move away from manufacturing and gain other skills, even if it meant changing the type of industry I worked in. To be able to undertake these changes required planning and skills – that I did not have!

It became clear when looking to change my career, that I had most of the skills and attributes employers looking for, but I didn’t have required diploma to demonstrate my achievements and experience.

Nationally Recognised Qualifications

A diploma alone doesn’t provide you with the rite of passage to gain employment in your new chosen sector. I consider it to be a “cup” and as such you need to also fill it with other things, like: learnings, skills, experiences, tickets, certificates, interests etc.

For example, I was able to improve my learnings and experience when I worked for a rural based commodities producer. I had the opportunity to improve the business system and reward myself at the same time. I applied and gained a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study the handling and storage of genetically modified commodities around the world. This provided me with much needed confidence, knowledge and self reward.

Find out what you are eligible for

I enjoyed my work but decided I wanted to move into the Work Health and Safety sector. I researched the skills needed, then identified what I already knew and what was missing.

I then began a process of undertaking extra studies to gain the experience to fill the gaps. Over the course of 18 months I managed to round out my skills and knowledge, but did not have the final qualification that was needed.

Recognition of Prior Learning

When researching the web, I came across Churchill Education. After a number of very helpful discussions with a great team of people, it became clear that I was eligible for an Advanced Diploma in Work Health Safety.

Since gaining my Advanced Diploma in Work Health and Safety through Churchill, I have been able to work across a range of industry sectors, in Rural, Mining and now in Civil & Construction, which I am still very much involved with and enjoy greatly.

Thanks to the great team at Churchill Education for providing the step I needed. I would say your working history is a bit like a superannuation fund!

– Nigel Hammond

Make the Most of Your Skills & Experience

We totally agree! Your work history is a lot like a superannuation fund. Nigel’s story demonstrates that over the course of your career you gain skills, knowledge and experience, that can add up to a nationally recognised qualification, gained through RPL.

EOFY Bonus!

When you enrol and pay for qualifications during June, you will also receive the Churchill EOFY Bonus (valued at $700)!

Turn your career experience into qualifications with Recognition of Prior Learning.  Apply for a free assessment today!

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