Adam Wadi has a story that every Australian should know about. He successfully switched careers overnight by utilising RPL – or Recognition of Prior Learning – and soon his family, friends and associates were calling him ‘the RPL guy’. Today, he owns the multimillion-dollar business Get Qualified Australia which is Australia’s leading skills recognition and RPL specialist. Wadi started the business in 2005 working from his three year old daughter’s bedroom and today he has a team of 100+ employees. Wadi was working in hotel management when he decided that he wanted to move away from the hospitality industry and teach others what he had learned throughout his career.
“Most Australians simply do not know that RPL exists or how it can work for their careers,” explains Wadi. “Essentially, it is a component of The Australian Qualification Framework and a legitimate alternative to college or university study based on recognition of one’s prior work experience. So for obvious reasons it isn’t something that’s been widely publicised by the traditional educational institutions as we know them. Many institutions currently enrol students onto courses without a standard assessment of the skills and competencies they have already acquired via their jobs. This means people are needlessly re-learning skills and knowledge they have already acquired, which is a clear waste of time and money.”
In addition to this, Australia is moving towards a skills economy, and to counter high skills shortages, formal qualifications are proving more critical than ever for workers to not only maintain their jobs, but to get ahead and improve their employment prospects. In fact, the demand for Certificate III or higher qualifications is set to grow 31% by 2019.
RPL gave Wadi the tools required to obtain a training qualification which then enabled him to teach hospitality and hotel management. Soon, he was teaching across Australia, delivering the training courses and educational services he had always dreamed about. This was his first brush with RPL, and it would dictate the rest of his career.
“Everyone asked me how I had managed to switch careers overnight and my reply was that I had effectively RPL-ed myself into a qualification. That’s where it all started – with family and friends asking me to help them change their own careers by moving from one industry to another, and attaining better jobs. From 2005-2010, as I was teaching in multiple colleges around Sydney, word-of-mouth kept building my clientele base until I became known as the ‘RPL guy’,” says Wadi.
During this time, Wadi saw a potential business idea and from that idea, Get Qualified Australia was born. “It had always been an aspiration of mine to operate an online platform which specialised in a product or service solution, but I was never able to find a unique product which I could bring to the market. In 2010, I had a lightbulb moment and realised that the product I’d been searching for was the very one I had spent the past five years telling people about.”
Wadi recognised that there was huge potential in promoting the unique concept of skills recognition & RPL, and having Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) provide the service, while he carried out the marketing and customer service process. This process includes assisting candidates in compiling their portfolio of evidence and submitting them to partner RTOs for review and qualification-issuing.
Wadi started with one partner RTO that offered three qualifications and he operated the business from his daughter’s bedroom. Today, Get Qualified Australia has over 40 reputable partner RTOs with approximately 400 nationally recognised qualifications in 29 industries. In the first year of business, Get Qualified’s turnover increased by 400% to $1.2 million. It then doubled in its second year to $2.4M, then tripled in its third year to $7.2M. This year GQA is again headed for triple digit growth of $21.6M and beyond. The growth in revenue allowed Wadi to hire over 100 employees and move into a full-floor office in Sydney’s CBD.
“Get Qualified Australia was born from my own successful experience with RPL so it’s very close to my heart, and the reason that we operate. Having experienced first-hand the opportunities that RPL gave me, I am living, breathing proof of the avenues for improvement it offers all skilled and experienced Australians,” says Wadi.