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Interview: Cameron Oneill

Interviewer:

Okay, Cameron, can you hear me?

Cameron:

Yes, I can.

Interviewer:

All right, great. So Cameron, thank you so much for giving me some of your time this morning to talk about your journey with just qualifying for a diploma of project management. So congratulations, that’s a really fantastic qualification. So what I would love is if you could start by just telling me a bit about your career history.

Cameron:

Yep, sure. So I joined the army in 2005 and had a stellar career up until 2018. I then had a break from doing any work because I needed a shoulder reconstruction and a couple other little surgeries from, just arm injuries.

Interviewer:

Yeah. So what did you do with your 13 years in army, Cameron?

Cameron:

I’m always in Medical Corps for most of it, and then my last two years, I was in the Ordnance Corps.

Interviewer:

Right. And what made you decide to transition out?

Cameron:

Oh, medically discharged.

Interviewer:

Okay, gotcha. Is that your shoulder?

Cameron:

And various other injuries that I don’t really want on record.

Interviewer:

Fair enough, okay. Sure. Okay, great. Keep going with your story.

Cameron:

Cool. So yeah, discharged in, I can’t remember if it was June or July 2018, then I had surgery. And I was off for pretty much a year. I didn’t start employment with Spotless until September last year.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cameron:

And I had to work as a trade assistant for eight weeks before I knew… Because my brother-in-law works at Spotless, I knew a project assistant role for admin popped up, so I applied for that my second day as a trade assistant. Got the job and then, from day one, was given projects to run on my own, which I’ve successfully put a few under my belt already.

Interviewer:

Yep.

Cameron:

And then I decided to use Churchill for the RPL process because I’ve used you guys before.

Interviewer:

Oh, right. Okay. So did you use us when you first knew that you were going to be discharged?

Cameron:

No. So I actually had a little break from the army and I went and worked in the mines as a paramedic. But in order to do that, I needed my diploma of paramedical science, so I just used all the information from when I was a medic. So I think I went through [John Bradshaw 00:02:48] and it was done seamlessly, and I got my occupational health as well, the Cert IV, at the same time.

Interviewer:

And how long did you spend in the mines?

Cameron:

Not that long at all. Maybe a year.

Interviewer:

Okay. And then you went back to army?

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

Yeah, okay. So what was your experience in the mines like?

Cameron:

It’s pretty boring. It’s where you go there to retire and live this very sedentary life.

Interviewer:

Oh, okay.

Cameron:

It’s the most boring job I’ve ever had in my life. The money was great, it’s just, no, it was too boring. I actually hated it and, yeah.

Interviewer:

Okay. All right, so then you went back to army for a while and then discharged due to some injuries.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

So how did you find out about Churchill the first time?

Cameron:

Oh, I think you guys had an ad, I think, in the army newspaper. Or I heard about it in defense somewhere, I just can’t remember.

Interviewer:

Okay. All right, great. Did you know anyone else who had used Churchill for RPL?

Cameron:

Yes, I have.

Interviewer:

Okay. All right, great.

Cameron:

I think you guys are the go-to for everyone at Gallipolli Barracks in Brisbane.

Interviewer:

Oh, that’s awesome.

Cameron:

I’m pretty sure.

Interviewer:

Yeah, okay.

Cameron:

Yep.

Interviewer:

Oh, that’s good to hear. Alrighty. So Cameron, tell me about Spotless and what the company does and a bit more about what you’re doing with him.

Cameron:

Oh, so we just look after defense infrastructure and projects.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. So what sort of things are you doing on a daily basis?

Cameron:

Managing projects. I can’t give too much information out because it’s a defense sort of work. I have to be a bit cautious in what I say.

Interviewer:

Yeah. Sure.

Cameron:

So I’m going to be very, very light on exactly what I do and the work that has been completed.

Interviewer:

All right, no worries. All right.

Cameron:

I just do stock standard project management work, what a normal project manager would do for any other project. That’s my day to day.

Interviewer:

All right. Okay. So tell me about why you wanted to go for a diploma in project management.

Cameron:

Something different. I’ve been in the medical world my whole life and I don’t enjoy that career anymore. I have no interest in medicine or anything anymore, and I wanted to accept a new challenge.

Interviewer:

Yep.

Cameron:

And my brother-in-law guided me down this path. And I actually have a bit of a flair for project management. I actually quite enjoy it.

Interviewer:

Oh, that’s awesome. And so, Mel told me a bit about the journey that you went through. So initially, you applied late last year, I think, or inquired about the diploma of project management. And at that point in time, you didn’t have enough evidence. And so then, you went through the process of gaining the evidence that you needed. So it’s a really great story, Cameron, of going from, I guess, you would have been at perhaps the core level and then getting up to achieving your diploma. Tell me about that process.

Cameron:

Oh, so I think I spoke to John Bradshaw and I think him and I didn’t really say eye to eye. And I think I spoke to your boss who used to be a lawyer, she explained a few things.

Interviewer:

Oh, yeah. [Kiesha 00:06:18].

Cameron:

Oh yeah, exactly. As soon as I engaged with Melody, it was smooth.

Interviewer:

Yes. Oh, good.

Cameron:

Like there hasn’t been any dramas at all.

Interviewer:

Oh, great. So tell me the process that you went through because I think it’s a really good story for other people who might want to be…

Cameron:

I just emailed.

Interviewer:

Okay.

Cameron:

Because I’ve done the process many times, it’s nothing. This is my third round of RPL through you guys.

Interviewer:

Yeah.

Cameron:

It was just sending an email to the company.

Interviewer:

Okay.

Cameron:

“Hey, I’m interested in this. Blah, blah, blah.” And then I was emailed back straightaway.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. And so, tell me about the process with Melody. What information did you need to gather? And how did you go about doing that?

Cameron:

So Melody gave me all the units that are under for project management that the RPL needs to tick off. And it’s just a matter of myself doing the work and making sure it’s in accordance with all the units. And then, once I think I had it all, I put all the information to the projects that I had undertaken and completed. And Melody and I then did a Skype call, we went through the files that I sent her, and then just a brief chat about the units and how I applied all the units to their current work that I did, which took about an hour.

Interviewer:

Okay. And how did you get the experience that you needed in order to have the evidence to qualify for the diploma?

Cameron:

Yeah, so I was thrown in the deep end straightaway. So we’re the top performer in defense contracts for Australia-wide at North Queensland, so they were so, so busy that I was employed as an admin role initially, but I haven’t really done much admin at all. I’ve been doing as if I was hired as a project manager.

Interviewer:

Right.

Cameron:

And learning that role because they want to hopefully promote me. I don’t want this put down in the… Because I don’t know yet, but they’re hoping to promote me in, hopefully, six weeks or so to a project manager role.

Interviewer:

Okay. Oh, right.

Cameron:

Yeah. So I’ve just been helping someone because they’ve got so much projects on their plate. For me to learn, they gave me some really easy projects to go through and just sink or swim and see how I go, and learn all the processes. And I’m 100% confident I can now run a project by myself, fully autonomously.

Interviewer:

Fantastic. Okay. So all right, so it was in the course of the job that you were already doing.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

And you just needed to spend a bit more time doing it. That’s great. And so the diploma, do you need the diploma in order to be considered for the next role that you’re hoping to be promoted to?

Cameron:

Yeah. So it’s either having the diploma or having 10 to 15 years as a trades-person.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cameron:

Is what their requirement is for Spotless. And I wouldn’t know how to do trades to save myself, I play sport, so I needed the diploma.

Interviewer:

Yeah. Okay. Fantastic. And is there much competition for the role?

Cameron:

No idea. So I hope this isn’t going to get on the… Like you use to record.

Interviewer:

No, no.

Cameron:

So the HR has to go through the Seek process, it has to advertise a role properly and I have to apply as if I’m applying to the role and go through the HR process. So I’ve been working in the field and with the team already. There’s only five of us.

Interviewer:

Yeah.

Cameron:

It’s probably a good chance that… Because it takes almost six months to a year to train someone up with the Spotless processes if they’re not aware of them. And it’s better to do an internal transfer than an external.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. So how many weeks would you say until you find out?

Cameron:

Oh, it could be six to eight.

Interviewer:

Okay.

Cameron:

HR here is very, very slow.

Interviewer:

Okay. All right.

Cameron:

So the role hasn’t even been advertised yet. It’s probably going to be advertised in the next couple of weeks.

Interviewer:

Yeah, okay.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

All right, great. And so, what are your plans for the future? Do you see yourself staying in project management for a lot of years to come?

Cameron:

Yeah. I’m actually creating wealth myself. I own a lot of investment properties. So my plan is to just keep on working, getting more equity, building more houses. And if my plan works, I’ll hopefully retire in 10 years.

Interviewer:

Oh, good on you.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

Do you a property mentor that helps you to accumulate a portfolio?

Cameron:

Yes, I do. And I would love this recorded because I can’t speak more highly enough about them. So the book is called 7 Steps to Wealth.

Interviewer:

Yes.

Cameron:

And it’s written by a gentleman called John Fitzgerald from Custodian and they’re based in the Gold Coast.

Interviewer:

Okay. And how long have you been associated with his training for?

Cameron:

Oh, about four months. I initially read the book one night then engaged with them, and I’ve just signed the contract, I think, two days ago. Going to have a warehouse built in Brissie.

Interviewer:

Oh, well done.

Cameron:

Yep, and I’ll just use them now.

Interviewer:

Oh, awesome.

Cameron:

Yeah, they’re awesome.

Interviewer:

Yep. So do they help with property sourcing?

Cameron:

They do all the backend work. So it’s all about buying and building new and in developing areas that have the infrastructure where the capital gains grow because the house never earns its money, it’s the land.

Interviewer:

Right, okay. So then, is the strategy to build and maximize the depreciation?

Cameron:

Exactly. 100%.

Interviewer:

Yeah. Right. Okay. Well, that’s really smart, Cameron, because if we’re only relying on selling our time, we’re going to always be in the rat race, aren’t we?

Cameron:

Yes, exactly.

Interviewer:

It’s good to have some wealth creation on the side as well. That is so good, Cameron. Well, thank you so much for your time. And I’ll just finish off by asking, when it comes to recognition of prior learning, what is your advice for other people who might be considering it? Or perhaps people who don’t know about it?

Cameron:

They should just try. Like if you don’t honestly know or try in this world, you’ll never find out if you can get the qualifications for work that you’ve done, that you can do, if you’ve got enough.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cameron:

And especially for defense people, I would highly recommend that you keep the work, redact it if you need to if it’s any security classification and use evidence because you need a lot of evidence these days to get your qualifications over the line.

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), okay. And so, what about people who don’t quite have enough experience yet? What steps did you go through to gather evidence and get the experience that you needed in order to qualify for the next level up?

Cameron:

I think it comes down to your work environment and who you work with and how good your bosses are, that they would allow you to attempt work that’s outside your role to gain that experience, I think, is a big key issue. Because a lot of people stay in the same role and they don’t get to do things that are outside there, so they can’t qualify to go up. If that makes sense.

Interviewer:

It does make sense. So did that take you asking for those opportunities?

Cameron:

No, it was kind of…And I don’t want this on the record either.

Interviewer:

Sure.

Cameron:

During my interview process, it was kind of, “Hey, we’re hiring you as a admin, but you’ll be doing this. And we’re hopefully hiring again at the end of the year, we want to train you up to be a project manager.”

Interviewer:

Okay.

Cameron:

So that’s been the plan from day one.

Interviewer:

Oh, gotcha.

Cameron:

But I pushed it very, very hard.

Interviewer:

Yeah. Okay. Oh, awesome. Cameron, thank you so much for your time.

Cameron:

No worries. Are you able to send me what you’re going to put out first? Because I’ll just double check.

Interviewer:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

So the process is, it will probably take me a couple of weeks to get it written up.

Cameron:

Yeah, that’s fine.

Interviewer:

And then what I will do is send you a first draft and then you tell me if you want anything changed. Yeah, so no one else sees it until you’ve okayed it.

Cameron:

Okay.

Interviewer:

Yeah.

Cameron:

No worries.

Interviewer:

Yeah. So I’ll be in touch in a couple of weeks. And down the line, if you, if you get the promotion, and I will be very surprised if you don’t, can you let us know? Because that’ll be…

Cameron:

Yeah. I’ll be pulling off the fluke of the century.

Interviewer:

Well, I don’t know. I don’t know about that at all. You sounded really…

Cameron:

No, I literally know nothing about tools and building. My father was a sportsman and his father before him and my whole family, we’re just sport orientated. I wouldn’t even really, to be honest, know how to change a tire on a car. I play sport.

Interviewer:

Yeah.

Cameron:

Yeah.

Interviewer:

Yeah. Well, I mean, but your job is to manage the project. And so, it’s like-

Cameron:

Exactly. All it is, it’s just people interaction and managing people, and I’ve been doing that my whole career in the army and speaking to higher up officers. It’s not drama, I can speak to anyone.

Interviewer:

Yeah, absolutely.

Cameron:

And working back on the base, I interact with those people again every day, so that’s easy.

Interviewer:

Yeah. Well, I mean, you’d think if it was your business, do you hire you? Sounds like you probably would.

Cameron:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Interviewer:

So I’m sure that your bosses will be thinking the same. So wishing you the best of luck, Cameron.

Cameron:

Yeah, thanks.

Interviewer:

And yeah, let us know.

Cameron:

Yeah, I will. No worries.

Interviewer:

Okay. All right.

Cameron:

All right, awesome. Thanks for the chat.

Interviewer:

No worries. Enjoy your weekend.

Cameron:

Thanks, bye. You too, bye.

 

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