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"Learning on the job is how I’ve gotten to the place I am today, but being able to have the accreditation through Recognition of Prior Learning that says I have had training and experience will get me even further." 

Anna Shirley is on the road with her business in a mobile van she lovingly calls “Mindy”, serving coffee and sweet treats at events across South-East Queensland.

Anna attributes her solid start in her own business to a combination of a desire to succeed and getting a good grounding in business practices though Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and gap training at TAFE Queensland.


“Mindy is a beautiful 1950s reproduction Bondwood caravan, and you will find us serving our treats at market days, school sports days and fetes, weddings, parties and more.”

Anna completed a Diploma of Events along with a food safety supervision course before her business 'Anna Shirley’s' was officially up and running.

“Having the preparation beforehand was brilliant as it gave me an opportunity to reinforce skills I had learnt over the past three years in events. It also gave me a clearer understanding and vision for ‘Anna Shirley’s’ and boosted my confidence before embarking on my endeavour.”

Many small business owners have the skills and experience in what they do but they often struggle with the business aspects such as cash flow, marketing and planning. Having experience in events before launching into her own business was also beneficial for Anna as that meant she qualified for RPL.

“This was a joy because I basically got to talk non-stop about something I’m so passionate about, with people who clearly feel the same way.”

“The subjects my teachers suggested I enrol in related directly to my business objectives, which I thought was really insightful and kept my best interests at heart.”

“There was a lot I didn’t know, and having teachers in the industry really gave me a great insight into what I needed to do then, and now.”

“I found the information I gained invaluable, mainly because I was discussing my business objectives with people who can tell you about important business practices firsthand.”

Anna also appreciated that she could study while still working, instead of being confined to a classroom full time.

“I could still work and pay my bills, knowing that my teachers were thinking of my ultimate goal and supporting me to get there.”

“Learning on the job is how I’ve gotten to the place I am today, but being able to have the accreditation through Recognition of Prior Learning that says I have had training and experience will get me even further.”


Do you want to get recognised for your skills? Find out more about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at TAFE Queensland or contact us today.

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