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Brushing up her business skills to re-enter the workforce

by Yvette Maurice
Davina Sinclair is a mum of three from Brisbane who lives only five minutes from the Amberley RAAF base. She is currently studying the BSB40507 Certificate IV in Business Administration online with Open Colleges.

I’m doing well with it!” she says. “I started in late April when the kids went back to school.” Davina says that her household is very busy, as her kids are aged 10, 8 and 6. “It’s a good time to study as they’re at school now,” she explains. “One of my reasons for doing this course is the fact that I have spent ten years raising kids, so I am doing the course to get a current qualification.”

Davina has already had an extensive career in business administration, but she has been out of the workforce for some time. “My background is admin,” Davina says. “I have a really good resume but it’s not enough to compete with the current employment market.”

This mum of three believes that honing her existing skills with the help of an accredited course is the way to go. “This qualification is the ‘piece of paper’ I need to get to show that I can do my job! With the Certificate IV, it’s brushing up my current skills but I’m also gaining higher admin duty skills as well. This is good because it should open up the job market for me even more.”

Davina explains a bit about what she is learning. “The assignments that I have done are things like creating a business itinerary. The assignment scenario dictated that a person had to go to six different countries and I had to organise the whole trip, right down to the flights, the hotels, the meetings, transportation and all that kind of thing.”

Learning new business admin skills is an essential part of the course, says Open Colleges trainer Suzanne Judge. “Business is one area where continuing education – even for established professionals – is essential in order to remain competitive,” she explains. “Good business administrators keep current in an environment where requirements for legislation, office procedures, technology, sustainability and occupational health and safety are changing all the time.”

Davina has seen skills like these demonstrated within the course structure, saying, “Another assignment I had to do was a product launch which is an example of ‘higher-end’ admin work. I actually thought it was quite fun! I really enjoyed those assignments and did well with them.”

“I’ve been going for about five months and I have done about seven assessments so far. I am hoping to get the course done sooner rather than later. They give us two years to do this course, but I am hoping to get it done this year because I really need to go back to work,” says Davina.

Business Administration is an essential part of the corporate world. “Good business administrators end up being the ‘go-to person’ and can make a real difference to the way an organisation operates,” says Suzanne. “There are also good prospects for upper management positions.”

Jeremy Dryden, a trainer and assessor in the Faculty of Business, Management and Services at Open Colleges says, “There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ student within the business administration courses, we see students from all walks of life, ages, genders and experience levels undertake these courses. Some are school leavers wanting to gain skills and knowledge in order to gain employment and start their careers, others are senior management with 20 years of experience, wanting to update and refresh their skills and knowledge in this area.”

Davina agrees. “For me, having three kids at school during the day made online learning a good option. Someone said to me, “Why don’t you go to TAFE?” but my husband works every second week on the late shift at work and a lot of the classes were at times that were late, which didn’t suit me or my family,” she says. “So, TAFE was not an option for me because I’d only be able to go to class every second week. It wasn’t viable. I had to find something online that I could do. I needed to study around the kids and the family.”

So Davina looked online. “I did a bit of research and Open Colleges is a place I have looked into a couple of times over the years. I think the time factor was the decider. Studying with Open Colleges has been really, really convenient! At first it was a little bit tricky getting my head around it – since I hadn’t studied since year 12. The whole set-up is fantastic, I found that it really looked good. The support has been fantastic as well,” Davina says.

So how does online learning work? “Basically it’s all done over the internet, “Davina explains. “You ask the questions and then you get the answers pretty quickly and with the support forums and stuff like that I’ve found the support side really good.”

Davina is quite clear about what she hopes to gain from doing her Open Colleges course, “My goal is to get into the workforce again after being out of it for so long and looking at a more senior role. Because of the age I’m at and my experience level,” she says. “I think with a current Certificate IV in Business Admin I am trying to get a more senior role, maybe something like office manager. Hopefully this certificate will take me places…but I want to enjoy doing my course as well.”

Trainers Jeremy and Suzanne have wished Davina all the best for the remainder of her course. Jeremy says, “I would like to congratulate Davina on her decision to undertake her further study and I understand the time and dedication it takes to undertake a qualification such as this. I wish her all the best with her future endeavours and hope that she has enjoyed her time and has gained valuable knowledge from those she has been involved with throughout the duration of her study.”

Originally published August 2013.

Are you hoping to get back into the workforce like Davina is? If you’ve got experience, knowledge and skills that you’d like to update, doing a course online can be a great way to hone your skills, make industry contacts and upgrade your qualifications.
If you are interested in studying an Open Colleges Business Administration course online, you can find out more information here.

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