From I.T. to the sea


Keith Wrench, TAFE NSW graduate and Eurobodalla local, was working in the Information Technology (I.T.) industry for almost 35 years when he decided it was time to start doing what he loves.

Keith is now navigating towards a successful career in the marine industry, after becoming a Marine Rescue NSW, Search and Rescue Master, and working part-time in a boat chandlery.

For Keith, going to TAFE NSW was the first step in making this life changing career move, taking up the Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Master up to 24 metres Near Coastal) at TAFE NSW Moruya.

“I used to work in information technology delivery and sales with some big organisations, including Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. I decided I’d try something completely different, so my wife and I made a sea change,” says Keith.

On his choice of a career in the maritime industry, Keith says: “I like the idea that I can actually be the skipper on marine rescue vessels because it’s about saving lives on the water.

“I worked pretty hard at my studies because I really enjoyed the course. It covered a wide range of subjects and gave me broad-based skills, as well as the technical aspects of boats.

“My teacher, Col Tritton, is just amazing. I think you’d have to go an awful long way to get his level of experience and practical knowledge. There was never a question that Col couldn’t explain and provide practical knowledge on. He made everything very real,” says Keith.

Keith has recently been named the winner of the Transport Industries Student Award and the TAFE NSW Ambassador Maritime Award at the TAFE NSW Illawarra Annual Student Awards.

Col Tritton, TAFE NSW Teacher of Maritime, Transport and Logistics, first met Keith through Marine Rescue NSW as an active member and says: “Keith is a very calm and intelligent man. I hadn’t struck a student like that before. It’s part of Keith’s mindset to get as many skills as he can to give back to the community.”

Be doing what you love and join us at the TAFE NSW Open Week, 19 to 24 June, to discover your next career move. Visit to find out what activities are happening at a TAFE NSW location near you, or call our team on 131 601.