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Camp Elim upskilling during downtime

Camp Elim upskilling during downtime

Ben English with his son at Camp Elim

In the midst of the bushfire season, and before COVID-19 had hit Australia, the Prime Minister said Australian tourism was facing "its biggest challenge in living memory." Now, it is safe to say that COVID-19 is in fact the biggest challenge for Australian tourism.

According to Tourism Australia, tourism in regional areas usually accounts for 4.1 per cent of GDP and 8.1 per cent of the regional workforce. After a huge downturn in revenue due to the bushfires, COVID-19 struck and restrictions meant Mid North Coast campsite, Camp Elim, could not remain open.

Facing a huge loss of revenue for the second time this year, it would be understandable if staff at the camp just took the time off and called it a disappointing season.

Ben English, General Manager of Camp Elim wasn’t going to let that happen. He saw this time as an opportunity to grow and to upskill so that next season Camp Elim will be stronger and better than ever.

Mr English enrolled at TAFE NSW Taree in a fee-free bushfire course to study a Statement in Asbestos Awareness.

“The course was only half a day and I now know where we will be most likely to find asbestos, how to safely remove any that is under 10 square metres and how to protect myself and my staff.”

Mr English found the training so beneficial that he plans to enrol his staff in the course, as well as in other fee-free courses such as a Statement of Attainment in Welding (Basic) and a Statement of Attainment in Chainsaw Operations - Basic Tree Felling.

“We can’t operate our business right now, so it is an ideal time to brush up on our skills and ensure staff are safe and well-trained when doing work around the property. This will also save money on needing to outsource jobs around the camp.”

Current students will continue to study the Statement in Asbestos Awareness at TAFE NSW this term using web conferencing technology. This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies.

TAFE NSW has adopted connected learning as a new mode of delivery because it supports social distancing during COVID-19 and allows students to be connected to their teacher.=

To find out more about studying a fee-free course at TAFE NSW Taree, phone 13 16 01 or visit


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media Officer,