Angela McDonald left a career in community services and disability to perform Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments at TAFE Queensland to connect and upskill those already working in the industry.

Angela, who lives in Manly West with her family, says she is working in her dream job and is often asked by others how they can join her.

“I had worked for over a decade in the community services sector, without any formal qualifications,” Angela said.

“Whilst on maternity leave with my first child, I decided to seek recognition of prior learning for all of my experience."

Angela enrolled into a diploma and was able to RPL the entire qualification, but during her course she was asked a question that changed her future.

“One of the TAFE Queensland assessors asked me if I would consider training and assessing others in my field," she said.

“The timing was incredible because I was looking for a change that would allow me to better manage the demands of my young family, but I was reluctant to leave the industry I knew and loved so much.”

Angela then completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116) through TAFE Queensland, which gave her what she needed to do the role and eight years later is thriving.

In addition to assessing those already in the industry for RPL, Angela also works with small groups in the workplace to deliver specially designed upskilling training programs.

“I am very passionate about the community services sector and I particularly enjoy working with those who want to upskill,” Angela said.

“These people already have the basics under their belt, and I love being the person who gets to help them extend upon and grow their knowledge," she said.

“I also really enjoy playing a key role in formalising the qualifications of very experienced industry professionals, who have bucket loads of skills but no piece of paper—until I come along, that is.”

Angela plans to continue training and assessing for the time-being and said there has been a somewhat surprising side-effect to her career change.

“Because I have my own history and experience in the sector and because I get to meet people from a wide range of industries I am in quite a unique position to be able to connect people,” Angela said.

“As the years have gone by, I find myself saying more and more to my students ‘You should get in contact with this person’ or ‘Reach out to these guys, they are trying to do the same thing as you and would love to share their experiences."

“Like most industries, links are so important but because we are all so focused on the task at hand, they often don’t happen."

Ultimately Angela is all about creating connections to make an impact.

“I love that I have been able to be a bit of a conduit between a number of people and organisations and hopefully it has a positive and lasting impact,” she said.


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