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Shaun Ridley - Deputy Executive Director, Australian Institute of Management

Shaun Ridley
'When I finished my teaching diploma originally, I thought my education was over, but I have continued to learn and evolve along the way.'

Shaun started his career in the traditional way with a Diploma of Education and trained as a high school teacher in Geography and Social Sciences, but circumstances led him in another direction. He went straight into an HR role and then continued his studies converting his diploma into a Bachelor of Education, completing a Master’s of Commerce and eventually a Doctorate in Business Administration. 

His workplace experience and his qualifications led him into the field of executive education and he is now Deputy Executive Director for the Australian Institute of Management. The Australian Institute of Management is the largest professional body for managers in the country and provides a wide range of management training and consultancy services to the public and private sectors.

What does your job involve?

I’m responsible for a portfolio of executive education programs with a budget of $5 million. I look after the quality, finances and presenters for our stable of courses. We have over 50 consultants, some are in-house and many are external, and I have to assess the quality of consultants and their experiences. As a private institution, the quality of the trainers is, in part, determined by our customers who ‘vote with their feet’. That is, if they don’t like what we’re offering, they’ll go elsewhere for their training. We’re also a registered training organisation (RTO) so we’re audited and accredited by the training council. I also monitor the daily course reviews to check that we’re delivering the right courses in the right way.

What’s your working environment like?

It’s a team environment. I interact with a lot of internal and external people. We have a group of managers and administrative staff who put together our programs. We also have a marketing team that promotes our programs and courses. I have to work closely with all these people so there are lots of meetings. I also have a lot of meetings with external people, such as HR and training managers, operations managers, CEOs and other clients who are considering our courses and to promote our activities.

What has your career taught you?

When I finished my teaching diploma originally, I thought my education was over, but I have continued to learn and evolve along the way. This has been appealing to prospective employers to see that I’ve continued improving my skills, enhancing my knowledge and updating my education.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to enter the education profession?

Yes, if you work in education, it’s important to model a love of learning in your own career by improving your skills, undertaking additional training and further qualifications. This keeps you up to date and is highly regarded by potential employers.

What do you look for in trainers – experience or qualifications?

We look for presenting skills as well as business experience, rather than just a degree in adult education. As we’re an RTO, we must have trainers with the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to deliver competency-based programs, which are linked to certificates or diplomas. This is a government requirement for institutions that are RTOs.

Does your job allow you to achieve a work–life balance?

This can be a very busy job that demands a lot of hours. It can be lopsided, at times, and take up more time than usual, which doesn’t give a very good work–life balance. I try to make time on the weekend for leisure activities and I enjoy playing tennis and going for walks.

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