We've been helping talented people to convert their life experience into formal qualifications since 2006. Over the years we've noticed some common themes recurring in the stories of our graduates, many of which you will find on our blog.
In many ways these stories are The Hero's Journey. Maybe you've heard of it? It's a storytelling framework coined by mythologist, and writer - Joseph Campbell. If you've seen Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or any of the Marvel superhero movies, you will know it!
The common themes that we've noticed in the stories of our graduates very much match the three main stages of The Hero's Journey narrative framework: departure, initiation and return. And they add up to a true hero's journey - for men and women. There is always an opportunity, despite challenges and adversity for all of us to be the hero in our journey.
THE CHURCHILL ALUMNI HERO'S JOURNEY....
The beginning of the journey for many of our graduates is frustration. That they have skills that are overlooked, that their experience is not valued, that their knowledge is not respected. Many have been through the acute frustration and disappointment associated with job applications that go nowhere, or continually being overlooked for promotion.
They experience this frustration because they've embarked on a journey of progression. They're looking for the next step, a new challenge. If they had been content to stay the same they wouldn't experience this frustration.
Think of it as growing pains.
Example: Derek had applied for over 70 positions and been knocked back for all of them before he contacted us. You bet he was frustrated. But the only reason he experienced all those rejections was because he was looking for a new job in a new industry. He was ready for change. (And is now working in what he describes as his 'dream' job.)
Any great adventure always contains some unfamiliar territory which can sometimes feel very threatening. There are trials and tribulations to face.
Many of our alumni talk about going through a period of self doubt. Their self-worth takes a hit. They're told they don't have enough experience, the right skills or enough knowledge. Specifically they're told they are not qualified for the positions they're applying for.
Even though they know they have years of great experience, well developed skills and vast knowledge only the benefit of time can teach, prospective employers can't see it, and so they start to believe it themselves.
Being undervalued, overlooked and told you're not good enough takes its toll.
It's almost impossible to not let this affect your own sense of self-worth. It is (unfortunately) entirely natural that you start to believe what the outside world tells you about yourself. Even if you know the truth is different. So part of the journey for many is that they start to believe they're not good enough, they don't know enough, they're not capable. In the Hero's Journey this is the 'supreme ordeal'.
It is at this point that people find us and begin the process of turning their skills, knowledge and experience into qualifications through recognition of prior learning.
Example: Brett made the difficult decision to leave a 27 year police career so that he could spend more time with his young family. He had joined the force young, so despite having worked his way up the ranks to Senior Sergeant, he had no formal civilian qualifications.
'I've done all this stuff but I've got nothing in the hand to show the big employers.'
Then he found Churchill, converted his service experience into civilian qualifications and is now working in a job that gives him satisfaction and more time with his family.
3. The Return
After being lost in the wasteland of frustration and low self-confidence, the process of converting skills, experience and knowledge into qualifications through recognition of prior learning is unanimously a feeling of success and satisfaction. It is a validation of what others might not have been able to see, but what you knew all along.
It is the process of showing the world you are worth something, and you are valuable.
Our graduates always say how surprised they were with how easy and straight forward the process was, and how great it felt to see their worth down on paper.
'I went from thinking that I didn't really have much from nine years of policing to an amazing level of self-worth. It validated that the things I've done in policing actually equated to something.' - Brendan
"I do honestly believe without the help in terms of turning my experience into tangible evidence, I wouldn't be where I am today.” - Ken
"The opportunities are still the same, but I'm looking at them differently, because last week I was looking without the formal credentials; this week I have them. My knowledge hasn't changed, but my perception has.” - Zoe
'It's been a life changer. It's opened doors left, right and centre.' - Derek
Be the hero in your journey....
In every hero's journey there is a Yoda or a Gandalf - a mentor that has already walked the path and can offer the benefit of experience and mastery.
Here are the top three tips from our alumni:
1. Start banking evidence now
Instead of studying for a qualification, RPL is the process of providing evidence which proves you already have the competencies required to satisfy the requirements of a qualification. Start collecting evidence now. Ask us about setting up an RPL Portfolio for you (your own private and secure folder for banking evidence). Find out more here.
2. Trust your gut
You know your worth. You know your ability. Don't let others tell you otherwise. If you feel in your gut that you are not being valued at the level you know you're worth, listen to that and then....
3. Take action
Be proactive, be brave, take 100% accountability for your life and your success.
If you're being overlooked for positions, perhaps it is because you have some skills gaps and need to do some study.
Or, as is the case with all of our graduates, you need to formalise your skills and experience in qualifications. Like it or not, this is the language every employer speaks. Make sure any prospective employer understands what you know and can do.
Churchill Education is all about action and personal accountability, and so are our grads.... Benefit from their experience and find out what you're eligible for now. Don't wait until you've got a pile of rejections and your self-esteem has taken a severe hit. Be proactive, take action.
Our preliminary RPL assessment is free, so you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
'Do or do not. There is no try.' - Yoda