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How TAFE NSW helped Nowra mum-of-four cultivate a new passion and save her family thousands

TAFE Digital

How TAFE NSW helped Nowra mum-of-four cultivate a new passion and save her family thousands

GREEN THUMB: Nowra mum Hayley Mundey says her TAFE Digital horticulture course has saved her family thousands of dollars and set her up for a future career. (inset) Part of the Mundeys two acres of landscaped garden at the their Nowra Hills property.

17 June 2024

TAFE NSW has helped a Nowra mum-of-four save her family thousands of dollars a year and plant a seed for a blossoming new career.

When Hayley Mundey and her husband Peter had two acres of their seven-acre Nowra Hills property intricately landscaped in 2019, the landscaper offered to continue maintaining the property – at a hefty cost.

“I told him I’d be doing the maintenance and he laughed at me and said you need to know what you’re doing and I’d never be able to keep up,” Ms Mundey, 46, said.

“The first thing I did was google horticulture courses and a Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE Digital came up. I trust TAFE NSW so I enrolled on the spot.”

A new obsession was born. Utilising the flexibility of online learning to fit in with family life, Ms Mundey’s skills and knowledge grew rapidly. She was able to complete most of her assessments based on work she was already undertaking on the property and, in the warmer months, was saving her family an estimated $1500 a week in maintenance costs.

“We are running a household with four teenagers so to save that sort of money is a huge bonus,” Ms Mundey said.

“I just love it: I love being outdoors and I love seeing the fruits of my labour.”

Ms Mundey said the practical skills and knowledge gained during her TAFE NSW course would allow her to find work in a nursery or as a gardener once her children leave home.

According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook, the nation’s gardening services industry is set for strong growth in the next year, generating annual revenue of nearly $3 billion by the end of 2024.

Ms Mundey said studying the TAFE Digital course via virtual classroom had been a “game-changer” for her.

“It would have been impossible for me to physically go into a campus because it would knock out so much time,” she said. “I can pick and choose when and where I want to study.”

TAFE Digital horticulture teacher Ian Gaston, a veteran of the horticulture industry who spent more than a decade working at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, said the industry had surged in growth during COVID lockdowns and maintained momentum since.

“There is a huge demand for our graduates and plenty of jobs around,” Mr Gaston said.

The Certificate III in Horticulture is an 18-month course and open for enrolment anytime via TAFE Digital. Units include identifying plant species, propagating plants, creating your own potting media, and how to test pH levels or electro conductivity.


Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 0477 722 428