How my online MSc has helped my career…

…by Hollie / from Australia / studying Digital Education / 2nd year MSc

Doing my MSc has been amazing for my career.

I realise that’s a fairly bold statement, especially for someone like me who already has 12 years sunk in instructional design and nearly 10 years in the Australian Vocational Education sector. However, I think it’s warranted and I’m itching to explain why.

I’ve had a fairly colourful career in Australian VET. I began as a Language, Literacy and Numeracy trainer/assessor for a government program which was designed to provide unemployed people who had emigrated to Australia speaking a foreign language, often decades beforehand, an opportunity to build their language skills and re-enter the workforce. I then moved into teaching business and management before undertaking a counselling qualification and going into private practice. Around that same time, I managed to win myself a Head of Department role for a training organisation and did a series of educational management jobs before stopping work to go on maternity leave.

Once I returned to work, I went back into academic management on a part-time contract and it drove me crazy. I was just at the end of my tether when my husband was offered an adult apprenticeship in carpentry which would lead to a very lucrative career in two years but meant a significant pay drop in the short term. Wanting to support his career change, I started looking around for additional work to make up the shortfall.

“Long story short, I was offered the role based on my experience in the field and the course I was studying”

Here’s where the story gets interesting. I responded to an advertisement for some casual teaching at a training organisation and when I explained that I was studying an MSc in Digital Education, their Training Manager suggested she might like to talk to me about building their organisation’s digital learning platform. Long story short, I was offered the role based on my experience in the field and the course I was studying. It would be a cool enough story if it ended there but it doesn’t.

My first day on the job, I enquired about the teaching and learning framework they intended to base their VLE on. They didn’t have one. I asked if there was a compliance framework I could base it on. It was in overhaul, so not a goer. I asked if there was a strategic plan that governed what they were trying to achieve. Nope… So I built them. I started with the program evaluation framework and, with the Compliance Manager, moved from there to the strategic plan. The organisation’s CEO got interested in what I was doing and after I presented the work my colleague and I had done. He asked me about the future of the organisation. I said I believed it was bright and that I wanted a chance to be involved in leading it.

That evening, I was offered a job interview for the training organisation’s general manager role. I interviewed the following day and was offered the job the day after that. It came with a $20k base payrise and a $15k car allowance. I found out shortly after that I was already the best paid divisional manager by about $5k per annum and it all came down to the combination of sector knowledge and the credibility that undertaking this course of study gave me.

So, has studying an MSc in Digital Education through the University of Edinburgh been worth it so far? It’s been life changing…

…and I’m not even done yet.

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