"I could do it, too": Raychel White encourages other young women to seek out a rewarding career in a trade
TAFE NSW student and regional Training Awards winner Raychel White is determined to be the role model her younger self needed by urging young women to pursue a rewarding career in horticulture trades.
Data from the National Skills Commission shows that only 1 in 10 professional gardeners in Australia are women, despite men and women spending a similar amount of time gardening at home, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Admitting she thought trades were a “man’s job” a few years ago, Raychel took the plunge into a Certificate III in Nursery Operations and became the first ever female nursery employee in her workplace while completing an apprenticeship.
The 26-year-old adds State Finalist to her impressive career start, being named Apprentice of the Year Finalist in the 2023 NSW Training Awards at Sydney Town Hall on Friday night. The title follows her win as Apprentice of the Year for the 2023 Western Sydney and Blue Mountains Training Awards earlier this year.
“As a young woman in horticulture, being named a finalist in this prestigious competition is an important milestone not just for me, but for all young women working in trades or considering a trade for a career.”
Raychel works as a Nursery Supervisor for Inner West Council, where she oversees Community Native Plant Nurseries in Annandale and Marrickville and propagates local native plant species, while furthering her studies with a Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE NSW Richmond.
“Growing up, I always loved plants and being outdoors, but it took me a long time to start my career in horticulture and to realise that trades aren’t just for men, but I could do it, too. I didn’t have any female role models to look up to, so I didn’t know it was an option for me.
“I want to encourage young girls to pursue a career they love no matter what it is, to try your hand at a trade and to see what doors open. You’ve got nothing to lose, only opportunities to gain.”
The annual NSW Training Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of students and apprentices in the vocational education and training sector, with finalists representing the best in their field.
TAFE NSW Chief Delivery Officer Janet Schorer said the NSW Training Awards competition was strong, with TAFE NSW finalists representing a range of in-demand industries providing critical services to NSW communities.
“The Hawkesbury region employs over 600 gardeners, with the industry expected to grow by another 14% nationally by 2026.
“Raychel is an example of the high-quality graduates TAFE NSW is training to meet skills demand now and into the future.”
Media contact: Emily Dart, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, Emily.Dart1@tafensw.edu.au, 02 7921 6315.