30-year-old Graduate Workplace Health and Safety Officer, Michelle Worth, recently achieved two national qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) – a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (WHS) and a Certificate IV in Project Management Practice.
In the following story Michelle shares her impressive career journey from leaving school in year 10, trying out a number of different jobs, feeling driven to find her niche and finally discovering it after opening a WHS manual on a mine site in WA.
She also talks about how meaningful it was to have her career experience validated, her self-starter attitude to vocational learning, kicking life and career goals, the value of mentors and how her new qualifications helped her gain a new job, and more importantly a new belief in herself.
Listen to Michelle’s story on the Churchill Education podcast:
The School of Life
Michelle, from Newcastle, had a strong work ethic instilled in her from her father at an early age and started part time work when she was 13.
In her words ‘school wasn’t really my thing’, so she left when she was 16 and started full time work immediately.
Her work career, just like life, had a few interesting twists and turns.
From working at David Jones, being a receptionist, working in pubs and bars, and also fitting in six months of travelling, Michelle always felt like she had more to give but just couldn’t find the job or career that suited her.
She knew that she wasn’t cut out for the repetitive process in some jobs or roles so kept searching for her niche.
Time spent as a P.A. for a financial advisor gave her the opportunity to become that indispensable person that ‘got stuff done’.
There were increased responsibilities as well as lots of challenges that forced Michelle to think outside the box and become solutions oriented.
Getting stuff done
This was when she started to set her sights on pushing herself and her career and looking for more opportunities.
Fast forward a few more years, now in Western Australia, working in and around mine sites in a male dominated workplace, Michelle had become one of those key people within a business that connected all the dots and made things happen.
The titles varied but the end result was making sure that projects happened on time and on budget.
More importantly though, her critical focus became ensuring everyone in the team was safe.
At one point she stumbled across an old Work, Health & Safety manual and started to self-educate herself on what was needed in a high demand workplace.
The value of a mentor
Michelle wasn’t sure that the process was legit and took a bit of convincing, but Colin kept explaining the concept so that’s when she took the step to reach out to the team at Churchill Education.
We all need a little help
This is when Michelle got to meet Churchill Education Skills Recognition Advisor – Amanda Smith.
In her own words her, ‘hype-girl’!
The joy of career recognition
When she received Amanda’s call with the news that she was eligible for two top qualifications, Michelle burst into tears of happiness.
Based on her work experience, Michelle achieved:
- BSB41419 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety
- BSB40920 Certificate IV in Project Management Practice
“I wanted to print it on a t-shirt and wear it everywhere,” she joked.
Michelle said achieving these qualifications made her feel ‘seen and heard,’ and validated her skills and experience.
“I finally felt seen and heard professionally.”
Michelle’s qualifications landed her a new job as a Graduate Work Health and Safety Officer. A role that finally made her feel like she’d found her vocation.
“If I didn’t have these qualifications, I wouldn’t have been picked for the new job.”
Perhaps even more importantly, her qualifications boosted her self-esteem and expanded her sense of what she was capable of into the future.
“I always felt like I was never good enough to have an amazing (job) title,” she said.
Continual learning and qualifications to match
As Michelle progresses in her WHS career she will gain higher level skills, knowledge and experience making her eligible for higher level qualifications to match.
This will allow her to be promoted up to the position of Work Health and Safety Advisor in 12 months.
When she’s ready all she will need to do is contact her ‘Hype-Girl’ Amanda and say, Hey, I’m ready for that diploma!
…And then there’s an Advanced Diploma and Graduate Diplomas in related disciplines that she can aspire to – all of which can be achieved through recognition of skills and experience gained on the job, not in a classroom.
As Michelle said, “I never went to Uni or TAFE, I went to work instead.”
Now she has the career and qualifications to match!
Bravo Michelle! All of us at Churchill Education are cheering you on, and looking forward to following your career progression.
If you’d like to take a look at what qualifications you are eligible for based on the work you’ve been doing in your career apply for a free qualification appraisal. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.