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How TAFE NSW helped Eliot find his roadmap to success

TAFE NSW National Environment Centre

How TAFE NSW helped Eliot find his roadmap to success

ALL SMILES: Eliot van Brummelen says a career change from accounting to surveying was one of the best professional decisions of his life.

23 September, 2019

An Albury man who ditched a career in accounting and landed a job in a critical skills shortage area after starting a TAFE NSW course has urged others to consider following his path.

Eliot van Brummelen, 31, was working as an accountant with WHK in Albury when he decided to shrug off the corporate life and take a gamble on a new career. After moving to Sydney, studying anthropology and working in the cycling industry, Mr van Brummelen was keen to settle back in Albury.

Shortly after starting his Certificate III in Surveying and Spatial Information at TAFE NSW National Environment Centre in 2018, Mr van Brummelen was offered a position as a survey technician at leading Albury firm Walpole Surveying.

“I wanted to stay in Albury and I needed a job I could still happily do in a regional area,” Mr van Brummelen said. “Surveying ticked all the boxes. It was outside work, which I liked, but there was plenty of opportunity to nerd it out back in the office afterwards as well. If you’ve got good attention to detail, enjoy maths and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, it’s the perfect job.”

The one-year, part-time course, which is delivered online, afforded Mr van Brummelen the flexibility to study how and when he wanted while still holding down a full-time job. It also unlocked a passion for the job that surprised even him.

“Much of the time I’m out in a paddock surrounded by nature but there’s also plenty of time I’m in the office crunching numbers and drafting. The variety of work is what keeps me interested,” he said.

“I feel pretty grateful to have secured a full-time job while still studying. The TAFE NSW teachers were really approachable and really focused on helping you actually get into the industry, and I learned so many practical skills that helped me in the job straight away.”

The average age of surveyors is 53 and a report by BIS Shrapnel has projected the licensed surveyor workforce would have to almost double by 2024 to keep up with surging demand.

Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute CEO Peter Olah said that meant well-paid jobs were plentiful in the industry.

“There is absolutely a skill shortage in surveying in every state,” Mr Olah said.

“And that shortage gets worse every time a major infrastructure project comes online.

“This is a global profession and Australia’s qualifications are highly desired globally. TAFE NSW is the bedrock of where those qualifications are built.”

Mr van Brummelen now plans to enrol in the Certificate IV in Surveying and Spatial Information at TAFE NSW and, later, a Diploma, which is required to be an accredited specialist.

On top of being well-paid, mentally challenging and offering a diverse mix of indoor and outdoor work, qualified surveyors are also in demand, according to TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Spatial and Surveying, Renee Coysh.

“You can never be guaranteed a job but this qualification is as close as you can get to it,” Ms Coysh said.

“Employers are just crying out for qualified surveyors and you can certainly get a very well-paid job with a TAFE NSW qualification.”

The NEC will offer a range of courses in surveying for semester one, 2020, including a Certificate III in Surveying and Spatial Information Services, a Certificate IV in Surveying and a Diploma in Surveying.

Ms Coysh said the Certificate IV and Diploma were exclusively for those already working in the industry and wishing to upskill, while the Certificate III was the starting point for new entrants.

To find out more about studying surveying at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.