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Student Q&A: George M.

Business Faculty Student - Human Resources

George M. is an Upskilled student who completed the Human Resources Management course online. After working for 20 years in the field of HR, George wanted to return to study to brush up his skills, and make himself more in demand in the marketplace. Here, he shares his story with Upskilled.

How did the Human Resources Management course go?

I was very fortunate to finish, and the course went very well.

Are you doing to supplement the HR knowledge you already have? 

Yes. I’ve been in HR now for over 20 years, so I’m what you’d call a “very” mature age student. To finish a degree off at 50, or in my case, a diploma at age 54 was quite an achievement for me anyway, in my eyes.

What made you decide to do the course?

Initially, I tried to attempt this course via TAFE (a few years ago). After some personal circumstances, I took time off from study, and so I looked at other options, and was able to transfer my study, gain credits for certain subjects, and begin my study with Upskilled. I had a lot of guidance and support from my Upskilled trainer, Christine O’Brien, who was exceptional – and that would be understating her role.  

Q and A with George M., Diploma of Human Resources Management

How did you find working with an online trainer to complete your course?

Sometimes you get people who just want you sort of just to finish off but Christine was nothing like that, she takes a bit more of a personal interest. She pushed and prodded me, which made a big difference to my motivation. And for that, I’ll eternally be grateful.  I think she’s an exceptional communicator and a really nice positive person and a very, very accommodating trainer.

What was the reason for returning to study in your 50s when you already had an established career?

I’ll be honest - I’ve only ever had two jobs. My first job role was in a bank, where I worked my way up the promotion chain and became a bank manager. It was a very full-on job for the simple fact that I was the bank manager for the area that I lived in. 

Wanting a change, I decided to enter into the demolition and construction industry, as I used to be a staff clerk at the bank, meaning I had broad payroll and other skills. Moving into human resources was part of my progression; I was basically shifted into this role out of need and demand and I’ve been here for a long time now. This is my 20th year in HR.  

So you moved into HR without any formal qualifications and this was your way of formalising the experience that you already had?

To be honest, I have been looking for more opportunities in human resources for a while, and I came to realise that my skills needed updating. I put in somewhere between 150 and 200 applications for jobs, while I was in my late 40s and I didn’t score an interview, not one. It deflated me. It knocked my confidence out. The only thing I could think of why I wasn’t getting anywhere is because I just didn’t have any formal qualifications in HR. So, I decided to have a go at a diploma. 

I started the process at age 51 and had completed my learning by age 54, despite the false start with TAFE.  And I think the proof is in the pudding, because here I am now, with some job application success.

I’ve decided to be pragmatic and put in some applications and now I have had an interview and I’ve been called up by at least eight recruiters, which makes me think that the qualification has really made a difference to how I am perceived by others. But does having a qualification help? Yes.

So, you found your Upskilled course valuable?

Yes. It hasn’t been a retrograde step at all, and I think the upskilling, was essential. It’s nice to get a diploma and my kids are so proud of me because I was always “banging onto them” about getting an education and they’ve both finished university, and I’m proud of them both. And since I was a university drop-out, I had to prove it to myself.

What would your dream role be? 

You know what, it doesn’t really matter to me that much, because I can make things work.  I think my adaptability is one of strengths. Currently, I do the payroll for 168 people and I am very good with mathematics. That is my strength.

Research your options for online Human Resources courses

Upskilled offers a range of online and online/campus-based courses in HR. Head to the human resources course page to explore your options further.

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