The seasonal conditions did not deter 10 students from finishing a horticulture qualification recently – or from planning to seek work or more training in the sector.
The students were praised for their dedication to the 26-week course, at a graduation ceremony late last week.
They’ve achieved their certificate II in horticulture and though some are long-term unemployed, the hope is that will soon change.
Altitude Training Services trainer and assessor Belinda Milgate told them: “This is the start of a new day; this is the start of a new life”.
Miss Milgate told The Leader the big dry meant there had been more focus on propagation, potting up, and control of weeds such as tiger pear and privet.
Their sites had included Moore Creek Caves Reserve; council parks and gardens; and nurseries.
“We did hardly any planting because most of our sites are really dry – which was disappointing, but you can’t even get a shovel in the ground,” she said.
Still, the students showed their competence in 15 units, also completing extra courses such as white cards, first aid and chemical certification.
Work and study
Brent Knight said he’d enjoyed all of the course as it had kept him active, and he would now seek to further his training or gain employment in the field.
“I like the propagation, and learning the names of trees and how to get them established,” he said.
Shannon Johnson said she was also keen to continue her studies or find work in the sector.
“I enjoyed learning about the local area; the native wildlife and their habitats.”
The special guests at the presentation ceremony at Jobs Australia in White Street included the students’ job consultants; the organisation’s chief executive officer Nigel Barlow; Ian Daniels, formerly of DPI NSW; and Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate for Tamworth, Jeff Bacon.
The graduates each received a lunchbox and flask to keep their food and drink cool while out in the field in the future.
The students agreed they were “lucky to have” Miss Milgate, who in turn praised her supervisor Robyn Wilcocks as “such an asset”.