Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW students caring for our country

First Nations school students from across the Manning Valley are creating a bush tucker garden at TAFE NSW Taree as part of their HSC while learning conservation methods to care for our local ecosystems into the future.

The ten students are school-based trainees undertaking a Certificate II in Natural Land Resource Management and hail from Channam High, Taree High, and Foster Great Lakes Campus.

Six months into the traineeship, job prospects are stronger than ever for the trainees with the federal government announcing last month, more than $746 million over seven years will provide ongoing support for more than 1,900 Indigenous jobs in conservation.

The two-year traineeship contributes towards their HSC and the program will enable the participants to apply for a range of jobs in the industry upon completion such as; land rehabilitation worker, national parks field officer, pest control assistant, soil conservation assistant, and landcare assistant.

Seventeen-year-old Taye Cochrine attends Taree High and said this program is the best of both worlds.

“I am able to complete my HSC while also getting qualified in the industry I want to work in and with that I’ll have a better chance at landing a job after my studies.

“There are a lot of career avenues I can pursue with a TAFE NSW qualification in conservation, I’ve always known I want to work in nature and do something with my hands. I enjoy learning about the land and how to look after it.”

The bush tucker garden will feature a yarning circle, a fire pit for cultural activities, and plants that help tell a dream time story.

TAFE NSW Horticulture teacher Sean Plodder is teaching the class using the bush tucker garden on campus along with the landscapes of the Manning Valley as their training ground.

"Aboriginals have very strong communication with the land; the land is linked to the legends about the Dreamtime. The trainees undertake paid work with Taree Indigenous Development and Employment (TIDE) making improvements to local bushland including places of cultural significance.”

“The trainees will participate in wildlife monitoring, pest and weed programs, tree planting, heritage protection works, and promoting the important environmental and cultural values of these Aboriginal Places to visitors.”

To find out more about agriculture courses at TAFE NSW, visit, or call 131 601. 

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,