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Continual Recognition: 2020 Vision

Security and risk expert, Tony Groves, received his first round of qualifications through recognition of prior learning with Churchill Education back in 2010. Now, in 2020 he is back for more, and has just achieved a graduate diploma – our highest qualification.

In the following case study Tony discusses leaving the military to look for new challenges in the civilian world and the uncertainty of not knowing what his next step would be. He also talks about being selected for a civilian role out of 100 other hopefuls, thanks in part to the qualifications he achieved through recognition of prior learning. Then going on to set up his own training organisation.

And now, 10 years after first contacting Churchill, Tony shares why in this new uncertain world he felt it was important to convert his accumulated skills and experience into the highest-level qualifications.


Listen to Tony’s Interview

Read Interview Transcript


Transitioning to New Challenges

After 11 years in the army, Tony was ready for a new challenge. He was initially able to move on quickly and easily to a position within the security industry that particularly favoured military skills.

However the company was eventually restructured, which involved 80 redundancies. Tony was one of them. Tony and his colleagues wondered where to next. It was during these discussions that one of the guys mentioned accreditation through recognition of prior learning, and an organisation he knew of in Brisbane which today is called Churchill Education.

Although recognition of prior learning was offered by the Army, there were no civilian equivalent qualifications that reflected what he had done in defence. They offered a Certificate III in Infantry Operations for example, but Tony felt this would be pointless, since no one in the civilian world would understand what it meant.

Tony says he had looked into RPL with a couple of other companies and says it looked like he basically had to do all the work himself, which he didn’t have time for.

Recognition of Prior Learning with Churchill

Tony and a group of his ex-colleagues ended up going through the preliminary assessment process with Churchill. Tony had no idea what he would be eligible for, or what would be useful as he was also not 100% sure what he wanted his next step to be.

“I didn't know what I was entitled to, so I just handed them everything that I could find and they told me what recognition I could get, which made the job a whole lot easier.”

Tony was pleasantly surprised to receive his preliminary assessment report back with eligibility for a range of civilian qualifications.

“I knew that it was pretty competitive outside, and I had to have everything I could possibly get to give myself that advantage,” says Tony.

Tony ended up with some very versatile qualifications:

  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • Diploma of Government Security
  • Diploma of Security and Risk Management
  • Certificate IV in Frontline Management

After he received his qualifications, a friend of Tony’s told him about a risk management position becoming available.

They were looking for someone with a military background, and civilian certification – specifically a Diploma of Security and Risk Management.

Tony ticked all their boxes and ended up being selected for the role from hundreds of other applicants.

Onwards to yet another new challenge

After three and a half years working as a Risk Management Consultant, Tony started to think about a new challenge. He’d noticed some training gaps for people like himself who had transitioned from the military to the civilian security and risk industry. So, he and his wife, Maria decided to set up their own training organisation – HALO Training.

Since HALO Training ran its first pilot program in 2015 it has continued to gain momentum. Today they train between 60 and 100 students per year.

2020 Vision

Now here we are in 2020, and Tony has once again been through the recognition of prior learning process and achieved a Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership – one of our highest qualifications.

So why now? Why more qualifications?

“We don't know what the future's going to bring and I'd rather take a proactive approach and put myself in a good position for whatever comes down the path rather than take the reactive approach and then scramble at the last minute,” shares Tony.

This is smart.

In these uncertain times there can be a tendency to pull in spending. But more and more we are being contacted by people who are saying, you know what, I am going to invest in me as a business and put myself in the best possible position to take advantage of future opportunities.

Things in the world are very different right now, but in a way, they are the same too. Change and uncertainty are always a part of life. It’s a different flavour, different facts, but still it’s change and uncertainty.

Businesses change, careers end, nothing is ever forever.

Tony agrees and adds, “Since I've been here at home like everybody, watching what's happening, I’ve noticed many people getting online qualifications – upskilling with their time at home. In my opinion it looks like everybody's getting more competitive.”

Sense of Achievement

In addition to the competitive edge that qualifications give, Tony says there is also a sense of achievement that comes with being awarded a qualification in recognition of the work you’ve already done.

This is an important aspect to recognition of prior learning. When you’re applying for a new job or a promotion, you will require certain qualifications in order to satisfy prerequisites, but just as important is the intrinsic self-belief that you are talented and the best candidate for the role. This is what seeing your capabilities formalised in a nationally recognised qualification can give you.

Tony agrees, “I did a degree and it served me well, but I find this (qualifications through RPL) far more valuable because it is based on my boots on the ground experience.”

We have a saying at Churchill… “Graduates of real life.”

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