News from Past Scholars

November 2018

Daniel Austin – TAFE SA /Playford Trust Scholarship 2007

Now: Lecturer in Horticulture at TAFE SA

I was an apprentice in horticulture when I was awarded my Playford Trust Scholarship in 2007. Surviving on apprentice wages, I don’t think I had ever had a bank balance as large as the $2000 that came with the award and it truly opened up a world of opportunities.

I benefitted from the networks and prestige associated with the Trust immediately and my career has since involved a snowballing of opportunities.

With my Playford Trust Award taking pride of place in future applications, I was able to earn the title of South Australian Apprentice of the Year in 2008. This exposure allowed me to become an intern in horticultural media with Michael Keelan on Radio 5AA and at the same time begin a career as a Lecturer in Horticulture for TAFESA.

In the years since, I have worked in horticulture around the world, touring the South African nursery industry (with the aid of the International Plant Propagator’s Society South African Exchange Program) before working with subsistence farmers in Tanzania. I then took up a placement to manage a horticultural training body with AusAID, allowing me to live and work in the Solomon Islands for two years. Before getting too settled back in South Australia, I gained a scholarship that allowed me to work in Israel at the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens for nine months, where I worked with the region’s rare plants and tropical conservatory stock. While in this part of the world I was able to visit Egypt, Jordan and Turkey and was asked to write on their horticultural enterprises for Hort Journal Australia, which I continue to do today.

These days I am back working as a lecturer in horticulture with TAFESA and sit on the Board of the Nursery and Garden Industry of South Australia.

It has been a whirlwind of a journey and it all started with receiving a Playford Trust Award. So thank you again to the Trust and its members for making the decision all those years ago. I encourage anyone eligible to submit an application; you’ll be amazed where it takes you.