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TAFE NSW empowers Culburra dad on mission for environmental change


TAFE NSW empowers Culburra dad on mission for environmental change

NATURE FIRST: South Coast dad Jeff Harbrow has launched an environmental business aimed at educating the next generation about the importance of sustainability.

10 January 2024

TAFE NSW has helped a South Coast dad turn his passion for environmental protection into a flourishing business.

Jeff Harbrow, 31, studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts at university before volunteering as a bush regenerator at Killalea Reserve at Shell Cove.

The experience stirred something deep within him and sparked a professional and personal journey that would change the course of his life.

The Culburra man enrolled in a Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystem at TAFE NSW Yallah to gain the practical skills and experience to forge a career in conservation.

After completing a two-year traineeship, Mr Harbrow took a leap of faith and opened Whipbird Environmental in 2021, a bush regeneration, micro nursery, and environmental education business.

“I was always interested in business and liked the idea of having a job where I could have flexibility to fit in with my young family and make a real difference,” Mr Harbrow said.

“It’s such a satisfying job to contribute to see a system spring back to life, with new species popping up.”

Mr Harbrow has recently made the company’s first hire, recruiting a new trainee bush regenerator, who is studying through TAFE Digital.

The business focuses primarily on Australian native plants, helping landholders rehabilitate their land and also conducting tours and bush regeneration clinics with school students.

The business now boasts dozens of clients, many private landholders who engage Whipbird Environmental to rehabilitate land.

“They may want to restore creek lines or build a habitat for birds,” Mr Harbrow said.

He said the hands-on skills and contextualised learning at TAFE NSW had contributed to the growing success of his business.

“The teachers I had at TAFE NSW were all very passionate and knowledgeable,” Mr Harbrow said. “Every student had their own nature site, some on the actual campus, where they could practically complete assignments.”

The conservation industry is in a steep growth phase, with 188 conservation jobs currently unfilled on employment website Seek.

TAFE NSW Yallah conservation teacher Marcus Burgess said the job prospects for TAFE NSW conservation graduates were stronger than ever.

“It really is an exciting time to enter the industry, especially with the growing awareness around global warming and climate change,” Mr Burgess said.

He said the industry offered a range of potential job outcomes for TAFE NSW graduates, including ranger, bush regenerator, forestry workers, biodiversity officer, catchment officer and Landcare coordinator. Local councils and mining companies were increasingly recruiting conservation professionals, he said..


Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428