In the following case study former detective sergeant, and current rugby CEO, Maurie Fatnowna, discusses career transition, RPL for police, and the importance of planning for your next career move. Maurie was able to make the most of his experience to gain a Diploma of Work, Health and Safety through recognition of prior learning (RPL). But it wasn’t a straightforward journey, and Maurie wishes he’d known about RPL back when he was first thinking of transitioning.
After 20 years in the Police, Maurie left his position as Detective Sergeant in the Child Protective Investigation Unit, to work in the private sector.
After many years in the Force, and with a family to look after, he says his priorities had changed.
However he says it wasn’t an easy transition, “The qualifications I’d racked up over my 20 years weren’t really translating the way that I would’ve thought.”
At the time Maurie thought the only way he could get the qualifications he needed to work in the private sector was to study. So he put his head down and studied for a Diploma of Management, which he says, “Took a lot of time and effort”. Not an easy thing – especially for shift workers.
Of completing the diploma he says:
“It made me realise that it’s important not to rest on your laurels and just sit back and think that everything’s going to be fine. Then one day when you go, ‘Oh, Jeez, I wouldn’t mind being promoted’ or ‘I wouldn’t mind being outside of the job,’ you look at your qualifications and you realise they don’t really translate.”
With his Police experience and diploma, Maurie secured a lucrative position with Shell Australia.
Having been through the long (and costly) process of studying for his diploma, Maurie says he vowed never again to put himself in the situation where:
“Hard work for an employer didn’t benefit me on paper”.
With the benefit of hindsight, Maurie says he began to take note of the things he was doing in his position in the private sector. He took diary notes of whatever he was doing that he thought might be important for future qualifications.
“I really felt it was important, once again, not to sit back and go ‘Oh, well, I’ve got the job now so everything’s good, I don’t need to continue with my study’.
I thought, it’s not necessarily about this job that I’ve got now, it’s making yourself available for the next one.”
So this time around, rather than studying for a new qualification, he made sure he capitalised on his skills, knowledge and experience accumulated on the job.
“I approached Churchill to look to translate all the extra stuff I was doing on a day-to-day basis into some sort of tertiary qualification.”
Maurie was eligible for a range of qualifications through RPL, and opted to enrol in BSB51315 Diploma in Work, Health and Safety. No further study required.
Saving him a lot of time and expense, and opening doors to new opportunities.
Of receiving his qualification through RPL, Maurie says,
“Getting this Diploma means a lot to me because it shows my kids that you always move forward, you never stand still and you make an effort to educate yourself, and don’t wait for an employer to do it.”
Reflecting back to when he first left the Police, Maurie says:
“If I’d known that Churchill was available back then, my transition into the private sector would have been a lot easier, because I would have done all that hard work before leaving, as far as collating all of my police work into real diplomas.”
Words of wisdom…
To anyone contemplating a career transition, Maurie says:
“There would be a percentage of police officers and people in the military sitting there right now, at work, and they don’t like their jobs. But they’re there because they don’t believe there are other opportunities, because they look at their qualifications and they go, ‘it doesn’t translate’.”
“Don’t keep the job and be unhappy. Don’t sit there and look at colleagues getting promoted, or don’t sit there and think to yourself, ‘I can’t do anything else,’ and therefore stay in an unhappy job, which affects you and your family.”
He says that many of the skills learnt in the Police are highly valued by private sector employers:
“These so-called soft skills that employers are now looking for, an employee’s ability to handle crisis, handle employees that aren’t doing well, give advice, whether it be easy or tough conversations, and be good communicators; they’re difficult things. And you don’t necessarily get them after a six-year degree, but I tell you, you get them after being in the police for six years. I guarantee you.”
In any industry you will accumulate excellent skills and knowledge that will be beneficial in a range of other industries and positions. However you need to make sure you translate your skills into qualifications an employer can value and understand.
This is the beauty of recognition of prior learning. It means you don’t have to study what you already know, and you ensure that your career value continually accumulates, instead of having to start again in a new industry.
If you’re wondering what qualifications your policing experience may qualify you for, and the types of roles these can lead to, have a look at our Top 5 Police RPL Qualifications.
Since we first interviewed Maurie, he became the CEO of QCCS Mackay Cutters Rugby League. He is responsible for driving the strategic plan, liaising with all stakeholders – from the Board to staff to customers. He says, ‘to me it’s not just about the game of Rugby League but the development of people in our community involved in our game.
What an excellent example of the many and varied careers available to former police officers, and anyone for that matter. Well done Maurie!
If you take one thing away from this story, let it be to always plan for the future. Talk to us about setting you up with an RPL Evidence Portfolio where you can bank evidence for future qualifications.
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