Study switch turns on a big career for Asset and Maintenance Management graduate*

Article image - Study switch turns on a big career for Asset and Maintenance Management graduate* General Manager at Port Kembla Coal Terminal, Dave Richards.

From electrician to executive, industry leader Dave Richards knows that finding the right course is an important part of building a big career. 

The former Mackay tradie was working with Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal when he took on an Associate Diploma in Electrical Engineering with CQUniversity, but a promotion at work prompted a change in study focus, too. 

Richards explained, “I’d chosen the Electrical Engineering stream because it built on my trade experience, but going into a coordinator role at Dalrymple Bay meant I needed to understand management principles, not just the technical side.” 

Switching into the Graduate Diploma of Asset and Maintenance Management, Richards realised he’d found his passion – and an important skillset in Australia’s industry sector. 

“When you do your trade, no one teaches you how to maintain assets, and they don’t teach it to engineers either – it really is a discipline of its own. 

“And because there’s so much big industry in Australia, across mining and manufacturing and our ports, there’s lots of assets to maintain, and lots of job opportunities too.”

Studying entirely online, Richards was able to structure the course around work and home life, making the most of evenings and weekends to complete assignments. 

He graduated in 2009 and progressed to be Operations Manager then Executive Manager for Asset Management with Dalrymple Bay, responsible for more than $5 billion of assets at Hay Point, one of the biggest coal terminals in the world. 

Just a decade on, Richards is now the General Manager at Port Kembla Coal Terminal at the busy New South Wales harbour, and says finding the right course was definitely a boost for his career. 

“The content was so practical, it really helped me at the time – I’d learn something and immediately apply it to my job. 

“Even some of the assignments I did were completed based on real-world situations at work – and because it was all online, I didn’t have to wait to get out of the classroom to apply it.”

As a manager, Richards now supports his own staff to take on Asset and Maintenance Management courses with CQUniversity, too.  

“If you’ve already got a trade, it’s really useful to expand your career options, and just makes you so much more valuable to an organisation as well.”

The Graduate Diploma in Asset and Maintenance Management can be completed over two years fulltime, with a graduate certificate and a masters program also available. 

Graduates from the courses have gone on to secure jobs across Australia’s biggest industry players, including Queensland Gas Company, Rio Tinto, Thiess, NRG Gladstone, Boral Australia, and within local and state government.  

Visit and search Asset and Maintenance Management for more information. 

*Copy supplied by CQU