Open Colleges

Leadership and Management Skills: Chris Studies Online from Kazakhstan

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: January 31, 2017

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Imagine studying an online qualification while living and working overseas in an exotic location? We spoke to Chris Billings, an Open Colleges student studying online from Kazakhstan. 


Hoping to enhance an already busy and exciting career, Chris is an international student studying a nationally recognised qualification, the Certificate IV in Leadership and Management which is designed to train students to implement operational plans, manage projects, promote team effectiveness and show leadership in the workplace.

Chris splits his time across two different residences in Kazakhstan, explaining, “I have two places I live. First is in Almaty (which is the largest city in Kazakhstan, containing 9% of the country's total population, also considered a World City) which is when I am on break. The other is place is on site near a village called Aktogay,” a town in Ayagoz District, East Kazakhstan Region of Kazakhstan, which is a major railway hub of the Turkestan-Siberian Railway.

An early start to Chris’ working life saw him working in mining in WA


“I left school at 15 because the world was calling me,” explains Chris. “I gained my first job in a sawmill – and I worked there for five years. I then drove a truck around most of Australia for a year.”

This then lead to a job in Australia’s world-renowned mining industry. “After that, I then joined the mining industry in Western Australia and I was there for just over 12 years. Then I hopped on a plane for Africa and have been an Aussie expat ever since.”

“I have been working all over the world.”

It stands to reason that a professional qualification in leadership and management would be useful to Chris’ career, so he decided to find a course online that would allow him to keep up with his professional and personal commitments.

“Of course it was important for me to study online!” Chris says. “How else would I do the course while also working full time? It’s flexible - I invest as much time as I have.”

Tackling career goals by gaining a new set of leadership skills

Chris self portrait is studying leadership and management skills

The Certificate IV in Leadership and Management contains many modules that aim to show leadership in the workplace and to lead team effectiveness, something that Chris already had some experience with.

“I already have a Certificate III (in Management) and my job roles are more managerial now. So, I thought - why not prove I can study? My work is all about leadership and management, so why not improve and see if I am doing it right?”

“Since I left school at 15, I felt that it was a good idea to get some ‘paperwork’ behind me. Next, I’d like to study the  BSB51918 Diploma of Leadership and Management. I just need to know I can do this!”

Chris plans on using his qualification to “shore up what I am doing right now. My experience and skillset is what keeps me employed. I will keep doing what I am doing now till I stop. I really enjoy what I do.”

How to be a great leader or manager – what does it take?

So, according to this online student – what makes a great leader? “Hearing people, understanding people in their personal traits and communication at everyone’s level. Swear with them (not at them!) and never talk with a ‘plum in your mouth’!”

“At the moment”, Chris explains, “I am in my dream job. Within five years I want to work in leadership and management here in Kazakhstan then that will be it for me. I just want to do small contract jobs at this time.” So, his online course should help Chris reach these goals.

“I love adventure!” Chris says, “I guess that is why I work overseas. It’s the challenge that gets me! I love the challenge.”  

To find out more about studying online with Open Colleges, Australia’s leader in online learning, head to the Open Colleges website to search for a course that’s right for you.



Yvette has over a decade of professional experience at some of Australia’s largest media corporations, including Southern Cross Austereo and the Macquarie Media Network. With a degree in Communications (majoring in Journalism), she covers stories on education, new knowledge technologies and independent learning.

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