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Planting futures: How TAFE NSW is boosting careers in horticulture

TAFE NSW Padstow

Planting futures: How TAFE NSW is boosting careers in horticulture

As the world grappled with travel restrictions, Georgia Steal found her wings clipped from a sky-high career as a flight attendant. Georgia switched career focus to sow new seeds at TAFE NSW, studying a Certificate III in Horticulture and reskilling into Australia's flourishing gardening industry,

More than 1 million Australians changed jobs in the last year, equal to the highest rate in a decade. Georgia’s career switch comes amid a COVID-induced explosion in interest in gardening careers, as many locked-down residents discovered a passion for horticulture and decided to pursue a career in the field.

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 2024.

“What particularly drew me to Horticulture is how broad and diverse the course work is. I have learnt practical skills and knowledge for a range of horticulture-related career paths, which gives me more options to work in different parts of the industry.

“As a mum to young children, I also loved the flexibility offered by TAFE NSW which means I can fit my studies in around my life,” Ms Steal said.

Thanks to the hands-on skills embedded in the course, Georgia’s career is now flourishing at Harvest Seeds & Native Plants Nursery. With the Nursery and Garden Industry of Australia estimating one in four Australians have purchased a native plant in the last 12 months, Georgia is thrilled to be playing a small role in helping her community nurture their green thumb.

The public is invited to see the horticulture students’ cultivation skills firsthand, with TAFE NSW Padstow’s Nursery, Parks and Gardens hosting their biannual plant sale on 15-16 November (9am-1pm).

The two-day sale features a range of plants including Grevillea, Kangaroo Paws, Bottle Brush and Australian Mint Bush at cost-effective prices.

TAFE NSW Padstow Teacher Tony Momi said the plants to be sold have been grown by students over the past 6-18 months. By raising these plants, students like Georgia develop a range of skills like propagation, pest control and plant selection. These skills set them up for working in the industry. It means they have the hands-on experience and can hit the ground running in the workplace.

Media contact: Sarah James, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0416650440.