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Why a move back to Australia prompted Garry to return to study

Jun 13, 2017

Category: Student Experience

Diploma certificate award

Garry Law is proof that you are never too old to study. At the age of 50, he decided to sign up with TrainSmart Australia to study a Diploma of Leadership and Management after receiving several knockbacks in his job search.

“I’m an Australian Citizen, but had been living in Hong Kong with my wife and family for twenty years,” Garry said.

“I had a successful career as a surveyor and knew lots of people within the construction industry in Hong Kong, but that counted for nothing when you move countries. In Sydney, I found myself struggling to secure any job interviews.”

Garry applied for thirty positions and even though he had a BSc degree in surveying and many years’ experience under his belt, he didn’t get any responses to his job applications and was starting to feel frustrated.

“Job Active suggested that I might like to do a course. I said I’d be interested in leadership and management and that’s when they put me in touch with TrainSmart Australia,” Garry said.

“The course appealed to me as I could access a VET loan and fit study around a part-time job, which I managed to secure in a restaurant kitchen.”

It took Garry 18 months to complete that course. He had two mentors, David Bunney and Michael Phillips, who offered support and guidance throughout his learning journey.

“I spoke to them every Tuesday and then I would participate in webinars; we would do role playing and other students would be involved. It was a great way to make my learning experience more interactive,” explained Garry.

“These two trainers were able to offer me support and guidance whenever I needed it, it was reassuring to know that I could call on their help whenever I needed too.”

“Each unit would take around five weeks to complete and my personal favourite units were managing innovation, maintaining continuous improvement and the one on finances.”

Garry received his certificate a month ago and is now looking for his first position.

“Check that you can afford to do it financially as it takes time — and make sure you have the support of your family behind you,” he said.

“I’m looking for a position in management now, not necessarily within the construction industry. I’d be just as happy with a position in the retail sector.”

And as for studying when you’re more mature?

“My advice to anyone is to go for it, whatever your age. I found it easier as you are actually more disciplined. Age shouldn’t be a barrier.”

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