Recognition of Prior Learning helps Brisbane transport owner get industry qualified in less than three months

Ten years ago, Andrew Aguiar left his job in project management to start his own earthmoving transport business.

9 Oct 2017

Ten years ago, Andrew Aguiar left his job in project management in one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies to start his own earthmoving transport business. With one in three small businesses in Australia destined for failure, Andrew was taking a risk. Starting with just one truck and one bobcat, Andrew’s business now boasts a fleet of over twenty-two trucks and employs a team of twenty.

The fast growth of AA Earthworks and Haulage which now specialises in the servicing of civil construction companies including builders, drainers, plumbers, local councils, government departments and residential properties is largely due to the customer focused business model and Andrew’s experience in project management. Andrew has built a strong reputation within industry, having worked with a number of big players including Olsen Salt, QLD Civil, Port Connect, Diona, Airport Link and currently has a contract with BMD Constructions at the Brisbane Airport.

When Andrew first launched the business, he did so with no formal qualifications. This meant that Andrew needed to become a fast learner and that’s exactly what he did. After the second truck he purchased turned out to be a “lemon”, Andrew got his hands dirty when it came to learning. He began stripping down vehicles to learn the basics, slowing building his knowledge and skills to a level where he now rebuilds trucks to put them on the road. In fact, all of AA Earthworks and Haulage’s fleet of trucks have been built by Andrew and the team. The business also provides wheeler tippers, body trucks, excavators, bob cats and excavator combos and auger, profiler and broom attachments. The heavy duty trucks are equipped to transport all types of asphalt, aggregate rock and general fill and offer a twenty-four hour service to ensure their clients deadlines are met.

Andrew and his employee, George Williams have also just become industry qualified having applied for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) through TAFE Queensland SkillsTech. Their skills were accessed onsite by a qualified TAFE Queensland SkillsTech workplace assessor, Ken who identified the competencies that could be signed off and those needed to be learnt to gain a Certificate III in Heavy Vehicle Commercial Technology (AUR31116). Both Andrew and George become qualified in less than three months, with only three gap training units requiring completion out of a total thirty-three.

“The RPL process was simple, easy and that’s how I got my qualification,” said Andrew. “Ken was a really good instructor, and he really took the time to understand what we do”.

Andrew and George were both able to access Skills Assessment and Gap Training funding which meant their course fees were largely subsidised by the Queensland Government. Andrew said that one of the benefits of becoming qualified is that he can now hire his own apprentices to help further grow AA Earthworks and Haulage. The qualification will also help him further down the line as he moves into the manufacturing side of the truck business.

Andrew strongly recommends that other industry professionals investigate their options when it comes to RPL and getting qualified. “When I first found out that I could become qualified, I thought I didn’t have the time. Now that I know how easy it is, I tell people to just go for it, you’ll be sorry later if you don’t”.

For more information about Recognition of Prior Learning and funding available to you and your employees, contact TAFE Queensland SkillsTech on 1800 654 447.

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