Trent Woodberry

Trent Woodberry

Trent Woodberry

  • Year completed 2003
  • Current position Director, Strategic Communications, Major Road Projects Victoria
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Media Communication

Career summary

Trent Woodberry completed his Bachelor of Communications in 2004 at Monash University. Following his studies, Trent began his career at John Holland, one of Australia’s leading engineering contractors. Trent worked on various projects (road/rail/water and tunnels), including Victoria’s Eastlink, Regional Rail Link, and multiple Level Crossing Removal Projects. During his time at John Holland he held a number of positions including Community Relations Officer, , Community Relations Manager and Regional Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager (Vic/Tas/Sa).

In 2015 Trent joined the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) as the Communications Director for the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project (Skyrail).

Trent is now working as the Director of Strategic Communications for Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV), delivering a multibillion dollar portfolio of road projects across the state.

Career pathway

2018 – Director, Strategic Communications, Major Road Projects Victoria
2017 – Strategic Communications Director – Project Delivery, Level Crossing Removal Project
2016 – Director, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, Level Crossing Removal Project
2015 – Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager, John Holland
2014 – Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager, Rail Transformation Consortium
2012 – Communications and Community Relations Manager, Regional Rail Link
2011 – Regional Community and Stakeholder Relations Manager, John Holland
2007 – Community Relations Manager, John Holland
2005 – Community Relations Officer, John Holland
2003 Bachelor of Communications, Monash University

Why did you choose to study Communications at Monash?

My decision was based on a combination of loving to read and write, an interest in public relations and crisis communications, and Monash’s great reputation and location.

I have always been an avid reader and writer. However, in high school I began learning about communications and public relations while studying business management. In this subject, we studied large organisations and their structures and challenges, examining what made some successful and unsuccessful. In these classes, the concepts of public relations and crisis communications were introduced to me through cases studies and assignment work. I loved it immediately - the high stakes, the strategy, the lessons learnt, the hindsight and the opportunities.

I grew up in Gippsland, in a small town called Bunyip. As a result, the Monash Berwick Campus was a natural first pick for me due to its location and its amazing courses.

Describe your role as a Strategic Communications Director and what is one of the keys to your success?

I am currently the Director Strategic Communications for Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV). We deliver a multibillion portfolio of road projects. These projects, which are happening across the entire state, are one part of the biggest investment in regional and suburban roads in Victoria's history.

Part of my role is to ensure our projects are delivered with clear communication regarding the impacts and benefits of our projects to local communities and stakeholders. My team look after all areas of internal and external communication including media, social media, digital, video, marketing, studio/graphic design, advertising, internal comms, external communication, stakeholder engagement, government relations, events and corporate communications.

One of the keys to my success in this role is my capacity to understand the challenges our teams are facing as result of having done similar jobs myself in the past.

This makes it easier to relate to team members at various stages in their careers, from those just starting out to those who are more advanced. This makes it easier for me to advocate on their behalf, provide solutions to their challenges but also, above all, gives me real empathy for their situation and the people we are affecting and benefitting from delivering our projects.

What do you believe is the value you gained from your degree?

The broad nature of the Bachelor of Communications gave me insight into different areas of communications, public relations, journalism, marketing, advertising, statistics, ethics and much more. By taking a wide variety of classes, I was able to expand my knowledge and find my strengths and weaknesses. Community engagement and public relations really appealed to me, and Monash allowed me to combine that passion with internship opportunities.

The value of the degree lay in gaining exposure to a variety of areas before having to work out which one was best for me and my professional goals.

What are some highlights from your time at Monash?

The opportunity to travel overseas on exchange as part of my studies was not only a highlight of my time at university, but was also one of the most enjoyable experiences in my life. Through the exchange program at Monash, I went to Bishops University in Quebec, Canada. The experience taught me so much about independence, resilience, different cultures, managing time and, above all, allowed me the ability to travel and see parts of the world I would never have dreamed of seeing – while also furthering my education.

How did the internship opportunities that you obtained at Monash impact your career?

During my final year, I had an internship placement at Gippsland Water in Traralgon as a PR Officer. During my time at Gippsland Water, I was exposed to small water infrastructure projects and how they would impact local people, their businesses and the commute around the region. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Gippsland Water, and even continued my employment with them for six months after the end of my studies.

Once I had finished at Gippsland Water, I focused on seeking out similar opportunities that were communications and infrastructure based. This led me to the EastLink Project, a $3 billion road project through Melbourne’s Eastern and South Eastern suburbs. I applied for a role as a Community Relations Officer, and I have been doing communications and infrastructure work ever since.

My internship gave me insight into the career I have been doing for fifteen years now. Without this experience I would not have been able to break into the industry as effectively as I did.

Do you have advice for students looking to prepare and seek job opportunities?

From my experience, being authentic, confident, resilient and doing your research are skills and attributes that set you apart when applying for a job.

Understanding the organisation that you are trying to join, their challenges, their opportunities and even some of their people in advance can really help differentiate you from others when it comes to interviews and job applications. Although this is necessary in public relations and communications, it is a skill that is transferable across every industry.