Andrea McDonald Joins Team Churchill!
We would like to introduce you to our newest Skills Recognition Advisor – Andrea McDonald! Andrea brings years of customer service experience, compassion, diligence and intelligence to Team Churchill!
Listen to Andrea’s story on our podcast, The Churchill Education Experience:
Andrea’s Career Journey
A self-confessed travel nut, Andrea had worked for Flight Centre for 15 years before joining Churchill.
After finishing school Andrea worked in retail and automotive service and sales before deciding to travel. A dream that she’d spent 10 years saving for – starting with babysitting while she finished school.
She took nine months off work and decided to travel for as long as her money lasted. She toured Europe and then explored North America on her way home.
Her last stop was LA. Whilst there she started wondering what she wanted to do when she got back home. She didn’t want to return to the car dealership she’d been working for, so on a whim she applied for a job with Flight Centre.
They called her and asked if she could come in for an interview. She replied, “I’m in LA but I can be home by Wednesday!”
She got home, went through their lengthy recruitment process and then got the job!
During her 15 years with Flight Centre, Andrea worked her way through the ranks from consultant to running her own stores. After many years of managing teams, she went back to a consultant role.
“I realised my passion was helping people with their travel.”
Andrea said she developed another major passion too – for Egypt.
She’d been there for her 21st birthday and has been back 20 times since!
She eventually asked one of the tour companies how she could go for free. They told her they would pay her way if she brought 15 clients along.
“A bunch of clients had always wanted to go with me that used to say, oh, next time you go, we’re coming with you, as a joke. And then I was like, this might work!”
Andrea started escorting groups to Egypt and the Middle East once a year.
Three and a half years ago Andrea became a mum, and took some time off for maternity leave and extended personal leave.
By the time she was ready to get back into her career a certain virus had hit the world and she no longer had a job to return to.
“Thousands of us lost our careers, in an email overnight,” she said.
Andrea said it was a scary time because not only had she lost her job, the whole travel industry had collapsed. Having been in the industry for 15 years it was all she knew.
New Beginnings, New Career
When Andrea started looking for a new job, she was looking for two things… Firstly something that would suit her family life, and the needs of her young daughter, and also something that aligned with her values.
“I was looking for part-time positions. And then, the more I read about the company – how it started, the blog stories and particularly the one about Randall’s PTSD, the more it resonated with me – the process of restarting from scratch,” she said.
The Benefit of Hindsight
Andrea likes to keep her mind active, so during her leave from Flight Centre she completed a Certificate IV and Diploma which took her two years of study.
Having experienced the time and expense of study, she said she wished she had known about recognition of prior learning while she was still in her position with Flight Centre.
“When I tell people in the travel industry I was a team leader and consultant, they understand what that entails. But people outside of the travel industry don’t. It’s similar for ADF, police, pretty much any industry,” she said.
Two years ago who would have thought that the travel industry would collapse? It would have been incomprehensible. It’s a tough love lesson in being prepared for any curve ball the future may throw at you.
“Had I known and done my fore planning, I would have saved copies of my business plans, my training and my inductions and all of that standard business stuff that I did day-in and day-out. Rosters, invoicing, budgeting, statements and everything that I could have used to translate into qualifications that we offer here now. I just don’t have access to it anymore,” she lamented.
Recognition of Prior Learning
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is similar to a translator. Qualifications turn your knowledge, experience and training into nationally recognised qualifications that demonstrate the value and transferability of your skills.
“I now look at what kind of evidence people can supply. I would’ve had all of that. I would have been at the diploma level minimum and been able to supply evidence in a couple of weeks, instead of studying for two years. It was a big, big wake up call, a bit disheartening at the same time.
But I wanted to share my story because it might resonate with someone else, and help them plan for moving forward.”
“Get in contact with us. Give us the opportunity to show you how you can translate your vocational work experience into nationally recognised qualifications.”
You can contact Andrea to get the ball rolling on a free preliminary assessment, or with any queries on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 793 002.
We are thrilled to have Andrea as part of our team
Not only is she highly skilled and efficient, she is also caring and compassionate which these words from happy graduates attest…
“Thank you for all your help and replying so promptly at each stage of the process. I’ll certainly be recommending you to anyone I know who might be interested in RPL.”
“Thank you Andrea. You are a star! I am so impressed with Churchill Education, what a great team! I am looking forward to getting my Certificate and hope that this will be one of many with you in the future.”
“I am absolutely gob smacked at the efficiency of you reply. Thank you very much. it was very informative. I will stop procrastinating and get busy. Thanks again, yo have blown me away.”