Sydney-based landscape designer James West credits TAFE NSW for landing him a dream job with the beloved TV franchise Better Homes & Gardens.
The 28-year-old completed a Certificate III in Landscape Construction and a Diploma of Landscape Design at TAFE NSW Ryde, and when his former teacher heard about the TV role, he encouraged James to apply.
The Rozelle local was stunned when he was successful and in early January started his new job as a Garden Designer/Researcher with Better Homes & Gardens.
“I love TAFE NSW and will shout it to the rooftops – they made this opportunity possible for me and it’s been a whirlwind,” James said.
“When things like this come across your plate, you have to grab them with both hands. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and so glad I forged good relationships with my teachers at TAFE NSW.”
In his role with Better Homes & Gardens, James will use his practical know-how to research potential landscaping projects and support landscape designer/presenter Charlie Albone to bring them to life on screen.
“I was impressed with James’ resume from the moment I saw it, and knowing he studied at TAFE NSW Ryde like myself, gave me the confidence that he would be an excellent addition to the team at Better Homes & Gardens,” Charlie said.
James worked for Spirit Level Designs in Surry Hills for eight years doing landscape construction across Sydney before starting his own company, Westscape Designs, which he operated on weekends.
He said the experience he gained at TAFE NSW’s world-class horticultural college in Ryde is what set him up for career success.
“TAFE NSW taught me everything I know – the courses are hands-on and practical, and the teachers are experts,” James said.
“At TAFE NSW you’re learning from people who have actually worked in the industry. They haven’t just studied it; they’ve lived it and breathed it their whole lives.”
Head Teacher of Landscape Design at TAFE NSW Ryde, Andrew Hewitt, said he was incredibly proud of his former student and had contacted James as soon as he saw the Better Homes & Gardens ad.
“It’s great to see TAFE NSW students like James getting the jobs they want and succeeding in their industries,” Mr Hewitt said.
“We help students build skills in landscape design and construction with practical training that translates into real-world environments. Those skills make our students a real asset to any employer and it’s exciting that TAFE NSW has been able to help an exceptional student like James in this direction. He is a salt-of-the-Earth character with a great work ethic and we are so excited to see him land this opportunity.”
In June 2021, the National Skills Commission produced the latest Skills Priority List, outlining skills shortages in the Australian labour market, which predicted strong future demand for landscape gardeners.
Explore hundreds of courses and pursue your passion with life-changing training at TAFE NSW. For more information visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
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