After graduating from TIS in 2011 Cameron D'Costa attended the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, but two years into a mechanical and engineering degree, he realized it wasn't really what he wanted to do. Leaving UQ was a difficult decision, but one that paved the way to his real passion of carpentry. Cameron enrolled in a pre-apprenticeship course at a technical college in Perth and after two and a half months, he landed an apprenticeship with a small carpentry company that focused on residential houses. For the next three years he worked on high-end residential homes and a number of commercial properties, doing timber and metal framing, cladding, and decking. After four years of his apprenticeship, he received a Certificate in Carpentry and Joinery in 2018. Cameron has continued to hone his skills and pursue additional education in his field.
What other diplomas and degrees have you completed?
In 2015 I undertook and completed a Diploma of Building and Construction, which now allows me to be the principal contractor of medium sized construction projects throughout Australia. Completing this also allowed me to enroll in an Applied Science Degree at Curtin University in Perth, focusing on Construction Management. I'm still finishing this degree online as I've moved back to Macau, but I expect to complete the degree in March 2022.
Samples of Cameron's carpentry handiwork.
Where are you working now?
It took me 7 years, and moving thousands of kilometers, but I managed to make it all the way across the road to The House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams. I'm working there in the carpentry department, where we do maintenance of the mechanical, scenic and other stage elements for the show. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show is on hiatus, so we're currently undertaking different projects around the theatre and City of Dream resort.
So far it has been a really interesting change of environment compared to the construction industry in Australia. Transitioning from a company of four people to a 300+ workforce was quite strange, but it's a cool place to work when you realize you're part of the machine that puts on a show for 2,000 people each night.
In addition to working, you are also the co-host of a popular podcast called that'sranked. What was your motivation for starting it?
First off, I love podcasts. I have been listening to them since I was in high school when most people didn't even know what they were. They are such an intimate way to interact with the creators. Even when there's probably millions of other people listening to the same episode as you, I can't help but feel a personal connection with the hosts.
In addition to my love for podcasts, the last couple years have included some big changes in my life. My wife and I moved to Macau and got married. My family of five was spread out all over the world, the closest two being a 2 hour flight apart, and my sister gave birth to her first child, Sonny.
In mid 2020, I was listening to more podcasts and often came across the interactions between people who have kids and thought it would be cool for their children to hear their parents candidly talking to their friends and family. It's something you don't really get to experience. It made me wonder what sort of conversations my parents probably talked to their friends about when they were my age. It would be insane to hear a 26 year old Ricky D'Costa (that's my Dad) talking to his buddies.
From that thought, my idea was to get in contact with friends I haven't seen for some time and see where they're at in their lives. I thought it would be cool to get my brother Jordan involved because we grew up together in Macau, have a lot of friends in common and didn't really speak as regularly as we should. To get the conversation rolling in the interviews we have our guest choose a topic and we discuss all our top 5's from that topic. Some topics we've had so far are top 5 places travelled, top 5 cuisines and top 5 moments of personal growth.
It's been really great to catch up with friends that we haven't seen for over eight years sometimes. Some people are exactly as I remember them and others are completely different, but it's always so nice to see how people are getting on with life. We've had some deep conversations with some guests and other completely mental interactions with others. I always finish recording an episode thinking that it was so much fun and totally worth the 2 hours of my Sunday morning taken to record. So far it's achieving the goal of bringing my brother and I together regularly and I look forward to one day showing these old episodes to my nephew Sonny and seeing his reactions to his 20-something uncles talking trash.
One of Cameron's recent podcasts discussed the Top 5 Teachers at TIS. Listen to what he and his guests had to say about the positive impact former English teacher Janice Pickard had on them during their high school years. Mrs Pickard worked at TIS for many years and taught hundreds of students. You can find thatsranked on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, Speaker and iHeartRadio.
How did TIS help to prepare you for university and life in general after high school?
Somehow TIS managed to help me get into one of the top universities in Australia. Surely it was the teachers doing and not mine, but we all achieved it together. I had pretty average grades up until grade 12, then boom, I was killing it just in time for diploma exams. I would like to give a massive amount of credit to my teachers in grade 12 who were able to push not only me, but my peers also, to achieve our maximum potential. Thank you Mrs. Pickard, Mr. Lee, Mr. Lauchlan and Mr. Cameron.
Whether it's going to a university, getting a trade or trying to get into the entertainment business, I feel like graduates need to pursue a path that they actually enjoy.
What are your fondest memories of your years spent at TIS?
The first thing that comes to mind are the Grade 12 serf sales. It was particularly nice when our grade was taking part as it really brought the whole grade together to work as a team. It was something that hadn't really happened before and was just a great time to enjoy friends and work toward a common goal. Our serf week was not long before we really had to hunker down for diploma exams, so it's the last time in my school memories that we got to have fun and not worry about academic results.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
With the path that I've taken in the last five years, it's very difficult to try and guess what my situation will look like. My current position at The House of Dancing Water has potential for growth, so over the next few years I'm hoping to continue my development there and gain a lot more knowledge of the theatre industry.
In addition to that, I'm currently creating a business where I will be recycling materials to make furniture and other household items. I want to be able to show my craftsmanship and do so in a sustainable way. So in five years, I hope to continue to grow the business and that it will do well, giving me the opportunity to show people in Macau that you don't have to buy new things from Ikea and Taobao to have aesthetic furnishings in your home.
On the podcasting side of things, I hope we can keep the ball rolling and improve our interviewing skills and also interview people outside of our friendship bubble. Whether that's friends of friends, or listeners of the show, we're happy to welcome people who have good ideas for episodes or people we simply think would be interesting to chat to.