Balancing work and study: the career empowerment formula

Studying with a full-time job; a hard ask or easy to manage?

11 Jul 2017

In an age where career change is more the norm, it’s a great question to ask. We spoke with up-and-coming interior architect Jocelyn Shield to uncover how she used recognition of prior learning (RPL) to not only balance work and study, but to also achieve the career always dreamed of.

Jocelyn Shield
Jocelyn Shield

What are your thoughts about balancing work and study?

It’s pushed my boundaries and I’ve been reaping the rewards. I’m getting a lot of hands-on practical experience. I’ve also been able to apply the industry experience I already have to the theoretical side of my studies here.

Being a mature age student hasn’t been difficult for me. It’s been great to help out other students and mentor them with my existing industry experience. I’ve really taken a leap of faith but I don’t regret doing this. It’s been beneficial for my career.

Did you use course credit to speed things up?

I received recognition of prior learning during my initial TAFE course for my previous short course. I was awarded more when I transitioned into a degree, making it all smoother.

What is the most essential personal quality needed?

Time management. Even after something like RPL, there can be plenty of study, so you’ll need to learn to manage your workload. This really helps you beyond study too, in the workforce or when working for yourself.

Leaving my original role in the workforce to undertake this has been challenging. But what I’ve learned about time management and growth has been worth it.

Why did you make the change?

I was an architectural representative and wanted to become an interior designer. Before that, I was a photographer and still loved design.

I’ve always had a love for interior design, but wanted to be able to work across the full process, not just as an architectural rep, and get the formal qualifications to become an interior designer.

What did you like about making this happen with TAFE Queensland?

It was an easy transition because I knew the lecturers at TAFE. I can’t rave enough about studying at TAFE or about their teachers. Studying here has been great for confidence building without having to start from scratch.

To learn more about recognition of prior learning (RPL) visit the TAFE Queensland website or call 1300 308 233.

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