Sports enthusiast and TAFE Queensland graduate Jarrad Easlea is living his dream after scoring a position working as a Triathlon Technical Operations Manager in the lead-up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Twenty-six-year-old Diploma of Events graduate Jarrad Easlea will be responsible for managing the course for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) triathlon event. He will be assisting in the design of traffic management plans, developing installation plans and scheduling, and handling all logistics involved in guaranteeing the event’s success. It’s a massive task, made all the more high stakes by the fact the world is watching.

“It’s pretty full on,” said Jarrad.

“There is an insane amount of people working on this, all working in completely different roles yet all working towards the same common goal. It’s unlike any other workplace I’ve ever been; it’s really like stepping through to a different world.”

Originally from the small town of Dayboro north-west of Brisbane, Jarrad had no idea what he wanted to do when he left high school, dabbling in a variety of jobs that included selling footwear in a sporting goods store and working as a lifeguard at the local pool, until he worked a snow season in Thredbo. It was his first introduction to the world outside of Dayboro – a world where he was meeting new people every day from all walks of life.

While he was in Thredbo, Jarrad realised he wanted to pursue a career that would be both challenging and diverse – something that would keep him on his toes but involved skills he could easily transfer to other industries and places. However, as a practical learner, Jarrad was less than enthusiastic about the prospect of spending three or more years studying at university.

“During this time my mum actually came across the TAFE Queensland course online and convinced me to look at it. When I saw I could complete a Diploma of Events in a year I jumped at it,” said Jarrad.

“I could never have predicted where this path would end up leading me.”

While studying his diploma in 2012, Jarrad gained first-hand experience by volunteering for a range of events, from the Noosa Festival of Surfing – the largest surfing event of its kind in the world – to the Mooloolaba Triathlon. An avid sports fan, Jarrad had discovered his calling, eventually landing a full-time position with IRONMAN.

“I spent a jam-packed few years working major multisport events all around the country and in my final year with the company I ended up in the role of Event Operations Manager for the Noosa Ultimate Sports Festival, IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast and the Mooloolaba Triathlon,” said Jarrad.

In 2015, he caught the travel bug, leaving IRONMAN and Australia with a one-way ticket to Europe – a trip he says taught him the value of having a work-life balance. After his return, he began doing freelance contract work for various multisport companies across Australia and New Zealand, travelling cross-country on a weekly basis until an industry connection he’d made in the past contacted him with the opportunity of a lifetime – the position of Triathlon Technical Operations Manager at GC2018.

“My role is to manage the course for the triathlon and my specialty is road operations, so this role suits me really well,” said Jarrad.

“Anything you can think of that happens out on the roads before, during or after the competitions is my responsibility.”

“The installation of the course component on competition mornings is a major operation. This consists of road closures, towing of vehicles, installation of all infrastructure, equipment and signage, as well as the deployment of nearly 400 staff members, contractors and volunteers stationed around the course.”

Jarrad is still chasing his goal of one day working on the biggest event of all – the Olympics – but in the meantime, there is no better stepping stone than the Commonwealth Games.

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TAFE Queensland