6 July 2023

Up-and-coming surveyors needed to build construction workforce in Illawarra

| Katrina Condie
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Surveyors at work

TAFE Yallah student Brent Nowland has secured a job with Allen Price & Scarratts Surveyors after only six months of study. Photos: TAFE NSW.

Surveyors are often the first professionals on a construction site and, without them, building works can’t get underway.

As many older Illawarra-based surveyors exit the industry, the call has gone out for newcomers to consider getting into the game.

Yallah TAFE NSW student Brent Nowland is in his first year of study and, after completing his HSC at Nowra Anglican College, has started a new job with the region’s largest surveying company Allen Price & Scarratts.

He is encouraging other school leavers to consider signing up for the TAFE NSW Certificate III in Surveying and Spatial Information Services to kick-start their careers in the surveying sector.

Brent studied construction as a Vocational Education and Training (VET) HSC subject and said it was the levelling section of the course that steered him toward pursuing a surveying career.

“After my HSC I was looking at options into the industry and they were uni or TAFE NSW,” he explained.

“I went with a surveying course at TAFE because it was more practical and would give me the hands-on real-world experience, something I think helped make me more employable in job interviews.”

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Brent says he enjoys being in a different environment almost every day, and the job offers a good mix of working outdoors and in the office.

“There’s a lot of variety in surveying careers,” he said.

“I’m involved in cadastral surveying, which involves surveying land boundaries and checking new buildings are going to be built in the right place.

“In my TAFE NSW course I’m learning on the same equipment and technology we use in the industry, which means I can put what I’m learning to use in the field straight away.”

The construction sector grew by 146,000 workers over the last year, with architectural and building surveying technicians making up more than 41,000 workers according to Labour Market Insights.

TAFE NSW Surveying teacher Jane Hayward says it’s a good time to consider a career in the growing construction industry, and the Yallah campus has opened its first mid-year intake for people keen to gain the skills in a role vital to the sector.


TAFE Yallah student Brent Nowland and Allen Price & Scarratts director Thanh Le enjoy the mix of indoor and outdoor work.

Ms Hayward said surveying and mapping services offered a satisfying career in a growing and ever-changing industry.

“As older surveyors retire, and infrastructure projects continue across the state, we’re seeing increased demand for more people willing to learn these skills, and there’s plenty of work out there,” she said.

“For the first time at our Yallah campus, we are now offering a mid-year intake for the course to help cater to the growing demand.”

Like in many industries, technology is reshaping how surveyors go about their work and the tools they use.

“Our students work through a mix of theory and practical coursework with industry-qualified teachers using industry-standard equipment and technology,” Ms Hayward said.

“This means a student with a TAFE NSW qualification can move easily into the workplace with practical abilities using the latest equipment and techniques.”

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Ms Hayward said variety in the workplace draws people like Brent into surveying.

“It offers a good mix of indoor and outdoor work, plus they get to see the countryside,” she said.

Allen Price & Scarratts director Thanh Le said the company was continuing to expand its team of draftspeople and surveyors to meet the growing industry demand.

“This is a skill that is vital to the construction sector. Surveyors are often the first people on a site before work can get underway,” Mr Le said.

“I was glad to hear about the mid-year intake at Yallah. TAFE NSW is an excellent pathway into this sector because the trainees have the advantage of real-world hands-on experience.”

Find out more about the construction and surveying courses on offer at TAFE NSW.

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