Executive Chef at the Hamilton Hotel Shane Pearson completed his apprenticeship 30 years ago. Since then he's worked continuously in the hospitality industry while also volunteering in various leadership, administrative, and major event roles including the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
As a GC2018 volunteer Shane was one of the first people to benefit from TAFE Queensland’s GC2018 Legacy Project. Through the project he was able to complete his qualification by combining his existing experience, the skills he gained during his volunteer training, and his duties at the Games.
Shane said TAFE Queensland’s recognition of prior learning (RPL) program has given him the opportunity to receive formal recognition of the expertise and skills developed on the job.
“Most of us don’t stop to think about just how much is involved in our jobs,” said Mr Pearson.
“As a chef, I do a lot more than just throw food in a pan and cook. I am responsible for a whole team of people, for managing a kitchen, for understanding the legislative requirements that my staff and I are bound by as well as budgets, business goals and marketing.
“I’ve also spent a huge amount of time volunteering for athletic organisations and major events and that brings with it a wealth of experience in a huge range of different areas.
“If I was to apply for a promotion or a new job, the only qualification to my name is that of Chef, but that is not really an adequate reflection of my entire skill set today.
“The diploma that I have received is something that shows the true breadth of my experience and that I am qualified and skilled in a range of areas, not just cooking,” he said.
A former Australian race-walking representative, Mr Pearson spent many years volunteering in the athletics community. Today he remains president of the Queensland Race Walking Association while also coaching little athletics and volunteering at major events such as the Gold Coast marathon and Commonwealth Games.
When the Commonwealth Games came to the Gold Coast, Mr Pearson joined 15,000 others and signed on in the hope of expanding his major event skills.
“The volunteer training that I received for GC2018 was outstanding — it took the knowledge I already had and extended it to an elite level,” said Mr Pearson.
“It might look like event volunteers are simply giving directions or helping to move people about but there is a lot more to the role. I found the training for the Games has helped me and other race-walking Queensland volunteers to lift the standards at our own events.”
After the Games were over, Mr Pearson became aware of TAFE Queensland’s GC2018 Legacy Project, which was designed to provide volunteers with a unique opportunity to upskill, reskill or earn a qualification that will boost their careers.
Through RPL Mr Pearson received credit for his Commonwealth Games volunteer training, many years of volunteer work, and his extensive hospitality career. His experience gave him credit for all but one unit in the Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB51918) with the remaining unit being covered through gap training.
“I was impressed by TAFE Queensland's RPL process and how the modules were able to be applied to my on-the-job experience and other training.
“Training through TAFE is very practical, so it wasn’t surprising that my real-world experience was able to be taken into account for the Diploma. The whole process was very clear and very direct.”
The Legacy Project is funded by the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. It allows selected volunteers to use their Games training to apply for RPL and gain credit towards further study at TAFE Queensland in courses including business, leadership and management, project management, event management and hospitality.