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TAFE Digital graduate geared at staying on top of multi-million dollar Coffs Harbour and Macksville Hospital developments

TAFE Digital

TAFE Digital graduate geared at staying on top of multi-million dollar Coffs Harbour and Macksville Hospital developments

Vicki Birmingham onsite

19 November 2019

The Mid North Coast Local Health District is employing the talents of a range of skilled employees as the expansion of the Coffs Harbour Health Campus and the construction of Macksville Hospital take shape.

A North Boambee Valley local, Vicki Birmingham, turned to TAFE NSW to get the skills she needed to pursue project management employment opportunities with the Health District which boasts a buoyant job market of more than 4,000 staff across the district.

Ms Birmingham, said, “I had a clear idea of what I wanted to get out of the Certificate IV in Project Management I was studying online with TAFE Digital, to assist in bringing the multi-million dollar projects in on time and within budget.

My role has evolved over time and now encompasses aspects of planning, budgeting, procurement, communication and stakeholder engagement.”

Ms Birmingham initially found the sheer magnitude of the developments overwhelming, so was eager to learn about detailed project management methodologies to avoid slip-ups in the part she plays in the massive $194 million Coffs Harbour Health Campus expansion and the $73 million new Macksville Hospital development.

“This course has given me in-depth insight into the different stages involved in project management from the early planning stages to design development, procurement, construction and finally commissioning,” she said.

“I have a greater understanding of the processes and, thanks to my studies, have the skills to effectively contribute to the multi-disciplined project management team.”

Mark Wilson, lead of redevelopment projects at Coffs Clinical Network, said, “Vicki has implemented systematic and thorough processes when undertaking projects and I believe the skills and knowledge gained in her studies with TAFE Digital have provided her with an excellent foundation.”

It surprised Ms Birmingham to see how much preparation and consultative work goes into projects prior to actual building work commencing.

“I now acknowledge that projects ‘don’t just happen’ - there is so much planning and designing that goes into any type of project, regardless of the size,” she said.  “I’ve found my role to be an ever-evolving landscape, so the need to be flexible and compromise are always at the forefront of what we do.”

Ms Birmingham found procurement units of most relevance to her, as she works in a small procurement team with thousands of items needing to be sourced for both hospital sites.

“It was fascinating learning about the many procurement steps and processes, in particular the use of preferred suppliers, assessing the quality and range of products and determining the best possible fit for the project,” she said. 

Studying with TAFE Digital while working full-time and taking care of family commitments, meant that Ms Birmingham was able to work at her own pace and at a time and place that suited her, often from the comfort of her own home.

“It was fantastic that I had the flexibility to use technology to ‘study on the go’ and was not tied down to a set timetable,” she said. “My facilitators were always available to me if I required assistance or some direction, and if I emailed them, their responses were always prompt and helpful.”

To see TAFE Digital’s hundreds of online courses across a range of modern industries, please visit

Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media and Communications Business Partner.  M: 0417 134 048.