News

Rebecca Hudson

15 June 2020

I climbed onwards and upwards with VET, and never looked back!

“Do your research, don’t hold any limits on yourself and drive forward without looking back. ”

Rebecca was a finalist for the Trainee of the Year award at the 2019 Australian Training Awards, so we caught up with her to see how things were going.

After spending several years working in management roles in human resources, Rebecca found that she had lost her passion and wanted a change. Rebecca took her future into her own hands and started a traineeship as a crane operator, going on to complete a Certificate III in Mobile Crane Operations, and has never been happier.

Rebecca has been a fantastic role model not only for Vocational Education Training (VET) students across Australia, but also for her three young children as she thrives, grows and adapts in a male dominated field.

How are you going in your current role?

The journey I commenced as a mature age apprentice at 41 years old has taken great leaps and bounds into places I never expected I would be two years later!

While working at South32, I completed a Certificate III in Mobile Crane Operations. I went on to test the waters by going into the Heavy Lift Industry with BHP. Although this was an amazing opportunity, it wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career. I started researching where I could utilise my crane knowledge and experience while learning in a field that compliments my career progression. I have been lucky enough to land a job at Alcoa of Australia Limited where I am now being trained as a Refinery Operator.

I’m now learning about the operations of an alumina mine, taking part in inspections and maintenance of equipment, reporting any potential mechanical problems and utilising my crane experience to scope jobs and conduct lifts during maintenance repairs. Not only am I able to continue learning, I’m now more transferrable across the industry. This is all thanks to VET.

How has VET helped you achieve in your role?

Due to the way VET is delivered there are endless opportunities. I gained access to contacts across multiple industries and learned many transferrable skills along the way.

Although my training was for crane operations, we also studied extensive safety training, report strategies and systems and leadership skills. This was all very attractive to my new employer as they are all important skills needed for the role I am doing now.

How does VET, or other forms of study, fit into your future career plan?

I am hoping to move into Leadership and Project Management eventually. But for now I truly believe in learning your environment from the ground up. This gives a clear understanding of work operations and will lead to being a better leader.

Has COVID-19 impacted the way you work?

My VET qualifications have been extremely beneficial throughout COVID-19 as I have been secure in employment, even during tough times. I landed my new role during the peak of COVID-19 as it was classed as a critical need.

My workplace has dealt with COVID-19 by changing our rostering to make sure that our crews are separated from any form of contact. This has reduced our risk of cross contamination between crews.

What would you recommend to someone who is thinking of a similar career journey to yours?

Do your research, don’t hold any limits on yourself and drive forward without looking back.

I never thought I could be capable of the achievements I have made over the last 3 years as it was so far detached from the work I was doing, but luckily I was surrounded by amazing trainers, work colleagues, friends and family who were encouraging and supportive.

To find VET courses similar to Rebecca, visit myskills.gov.au.

To read more about Rebecca's VET pathway visit her Australian VET Alumni profile.