Aislinn Rebel: landscaper

Aislinn Rebel, a Wollongong woman who ditched plans for a career in social work to join the male-dominated landscaping sector, has urged other young women to get ‘on the tools’ and consider a career in the booming industry.

Aislinn always thought her post-school plans would involve a university degree but in a surprising about-face, found herself gravitating to the outdoor trades after falling in love with landscaping.

It comes as Labour Market Insights predicts a 14 per cent boost in gardening and landscaping jobs by 2026. Meanwhile, less than five per cent of landscapers are women.

Now a third-year apprentice with Vista Landscapes and a Certificate III in Landscape Construction student at TAFE NSW Yallah, Ms Rebel said she had discovered her professional passion.

“I always liked the idea of working outside in a challenging role but I thought I was destined to do social work at university,” Ms Rebel said. “A friend suggested I try landscaping and I brushed it off at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it could be for me.”

Thanks to TAFE

Despite being the only female in her TAFE NSW Yallah class, and a few years older than the other students, Ms Rebel said her studies had helped give her the practical skills and experience to thrive.

“The TAFE NSW teachers are so experienced and it’s great to have open discussions in class about some of the challenges we are facing on the job,” she said. “And it’s such a satisfying job: you get to see what you’ve created each day and feel yourself get fitter and stronger.

“I would just encourage other women to consider a career in landscaping as it’s a great industry with heaps of opportunity.”

Plenty of opportunity

Ms Rebel said the job was rich in variety, with her typical day involving anything from paving to grouting, building retaining walls to planting out a backyard space.

She hopes to eventually study the Diploma of Landscape Design at TAFE NSW Yallah to broaden her skill set and help her one day own her own landscaping business.

TAFE NSW Yallah landscape construction teacher Rob Wardlaw, a 30-year veteran of the industry, said landscapers were in such high demand in the Illawarra, he regularly fielded calls from employers looking for new staff.

“It’s such a broad trade that it’s really a number of trades rolled into one,” Mr Wardlaw said. “That opens up a lot of doors for you.”

He said TAFE NSW Yallah students honed their skills with a range of hands-on projects both on campus and in the community.

See the full range of TAFE NSW courses and opportunities at



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