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I recently caught up with our trainers and assessors to find out a bit more about their background and what makes them tick.

Today’s interview is with Andrew Dixon. Andrew is a highly experienced facilitator who has extensive experience in Defence, government and other industries. Andrew has an amazing background and at one point was in charge of the Australian Army Prison. Andrew is our lead facilitator for the Diploma of Government and delivers many workshops in procurement and contract management as well as project management.

Michael Young: Andrew – Tell us about your background

Andrew Dixon: I was born in England and raised in South Australia. After completing my schooling, and working in the private sector for a year I joined the Australian Army in 1977. I served in both the Australian Regular Army and the Army Reserve, I entered the services as a Private and work my way through the rank levels to retire as a Major in the Royal Corps of Military Police.

On leaving the regular Army in 2002, I held a senior position in the Federal Public Service as a Business Manager, I moved around the Public Service until 2009 when working as the Learning and Development Manager for the Defence Police Academy, I accepted a role in the Private Sector working for Crown Equipment as the National Training Manager. In 2010 I ventured out on my own and established myself as a Training and Business Consultant.

I have always been heavily involved in the sporting environment playing in and coaching many sporting teams. I have had several sporting highlights which include a first class hundred in cricket, three holes in ones in golf and representing Defence in Australian Rules Football.

MY: How did you get involved in education as a trainer and assessor?

AD: I started out in the training environment in 1989, when I was selected as a Recruit Training Instructor for the Army Recruit Training School. I spent 2 years training both male and female recruits the basic to soldiering and successfully providing them with the knowledge and skills to more forward in their Army careers. In 1992 I was selected to represent defence as a Defence Careers Advisor and for 4 years I presented information on the career opportunities in the defence force to students studying in years 10, 11 and 12 at schools from Coffs Harbour across to Armidale and down to the Central Coast of NSW.

Having been given the opportunity to serve in the Defence environment I am comfortable providing knowledge and skills in Training, Business and Management. I was given the opportunities during my working life to gain valuable experience in the above-mentioned subjects. My time as a recruit training instructor and careers advisor provided me with the confidence to design and present information required for others to further their careers in their given fields.

In my time as a Training and Business Consultant, I have been given the opportunity to diverse in many areas pertaining to management and business. Today I centre my efforts on management, project management, procurement and contracting and facilitation training.

MY:  So what courses did you do and qualifications do you complete to get to this point?

AD: My education, and qualifications stem from Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, University of Newcastle to Diplomas in Training and Assessment, Project Management, Government Finance and Management.

MY: So what does a typical day look like for you as a facilitator?

AD: A typical day for me, if I am not delivering training my day will start with personal development, I am a member of Australian Institute of Management and Australian Institute of Project Management both organisations provide me with information and material to enhance my knowledge.

If I am training, I like to get to the venue early to get a feel for the venue and have the training environment ready for the participants on their arrival. If I am designing and developing training material, I portion out my day into small timeframes so I stay active.

If I am training the next day then a percentage of my day will be rehearsal and material production.

MY: Why education?

AD: Working in the educational environment provides a sense of satisfaction, I enjoy the moments when others gain the understanding, they required to complete a task, project or career progress. It is a vessel I use to provide people who are working in an environment I have experience in, as I am able provide them with what worked or didn’t work for me in a similar situation. As vocational education is a product of industry requirements in the workplace, it is satisfying to provide the knowledge, skills and guidance that people will need to do what industry expects of them back in the workplace.

MY: What are you currently working on?

AD: Currently I am involved in the design and delivery of project management fundamentals for CSIRO, design and delivery of procurement and contracting for the South Australian Government, lecturing for the Australian Institute of Management and facilitating team building sessions for BHP.

MY: What are your plans for the future?

AD: When it comes to future opportunities, my attitude is to take on any project offered to me in the education environment. If I was asked this question 10 years ago, who would have known I would have been involved in providing:

  • independent quality assurance Evaluation of the Training Courses for the employment training of the ships company for the HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide,
  • provided professional guidance for UnitingSA in determining the parameters of a learning strategy, and developing a framework for the requirements of clinical training to industry standards,
  • engaged to design and develop the Certificate IV Government Fraud Investigation Package for Centrelink and Medicare Australia,
  • engaged to deliver a Diploma qualification and assist in the development of skills to support the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP),
  • engaged by Sydney Trains NSW to provide staff support through the delivery of information for the rollout of the Opal Card in NSW
  • and work with the International Management Incentive Vietnam, in conjunction with Australian Institute of Management successfully, qualified candidates for employment in facilitating management qualifications and soft skilled units in Asia.

MY: If you could give some advice to others starting out as a trainer and assessor, what would it be?

AD: I have mentored two other facilitators starting out in the education environment, I consistently talked about innovation in learning, having them strive for the optimum learning environment for the participant. Make the participants day as engaging as possible and introduce platforms where they can (with our guidance) self-educate.

From a business sense, be prepared for any and every opportunity, be confident in what you know and how you do it. Be ready for the satisfaction of giving back to others and feeling good about yourself.

MY: Wow thanks Andrew. What an amazing background and set of experiences.

AD: Thanks Michael. Its been a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun as well.

You can find out more about Andrew by checking out his LinkedIn Profile.

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