Shoalhaven women are receiving a skills-boost in horticulture and hospitality skills under a new program uniting Aboriginal women’s health service Waminda with TAFE NSW and the Botanic Gardens.
In a first for the region, the Women’s Traditional Food Program provides participants with skills in in Horticulture and Hospitality through a TAFE NSW Statement of Attainment in Individual Pathways.
The program ran one day per week throughout 2022 at Waminda’s garden property, Kareela, located in Terara. Another program is planned for 2023.
The program is helping build a pipeline of people with the skills to work in two growth industries. According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook, the gardening services industry is set for strong growth, generating annual revenue of nearly $3 billion by 2024. In hospitality there is a demand for people who have or are currently gaining qualifications as the sector rebuilds following the pandemic.
Shoalhaven resident Kylara Brown is taking part in the program and works in Waminda’s social enterprise, Blak Cede.
Kylara said she is combining her passion for cooking and hospitality with her growing horticultural knowledge to help produce delicious Indigenous foods sold locally at markets and online.
“I love cooking and this course is building on my knowledge of native and local plants and how I can use them to come up with new flavours in the cooking I do with Blak Cede,” Kylara said.
“This course is giving me the skills and confidence to build on the experience I already have. I’ve learned a lot about maintaining the plants and about their origins, with a focus on local plants.”
Lynne Dooley oversees the Women’s Traditional Food Program at Kareela, she said it was “an opportunity to build on the knowledge that our staff and volunteers bring to the garden, and to learn more about native plants, understanding their cultural significance and their medicinal and culinary uses.
“Working with TAFE NSW teachers and the Royal Botanic Gardens Community Greening provides students with expertise and knowledge around specific plants and what they need to thrive.
“Essentially this is all about creating job opportunities out here and TAFE NSW and Community Greening are helping us to support women increase their knowledge and confidence.
“This is an important collaboration for us, where cultural learning is supported by accredited training, leading to employment pathways. In fact, several participants are going to enrol in another horticulture course at TAFE NSW to further their knowledge.”
Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0466 375 552.