2007 TAFE SA /Playford Trust Scholarship
I was an apprentice in horticulture when I was awarded my Playford Trust Scholarship, which acted as a springboard for my career. I immediately benefitted from the networks and prestige associated with the Trust and my career went from strength to strength.
I completed my apprenticeship earning the title ‘South Australian Apprentice of the Year’ and this exposure allowed me an opportunity to become an intern in horticultural media with Radio 5AA, while at the same time beginning a role as a Lecturer in Horticulture for TAFESA. Following this, I had the opportunity to undertake a further internship with CSIRO at the National Herbarium in Canberra.
In the years since, my career has become quite unique. Extending over four continents, it has allowed for a diverse range of experiences, from working with subsistence farmers in Tanzania and establishing vocational training programs for AusAID in the Solomon Islands to studying the nursery industry in South Africa and working in Israel at the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens.
I have worked extensively with the horticulture industry in Australia and abroad in roles involving everything from horticultural media and consultancy to management and training. One of my regular roles is to write for the nationally circulated Hort Journal Australia and in late 2021, I released my first book ‘Off the Garden Path: Green Wonders of the World’ which won the Horticultural Media Association of Australia’s (HMA) Book Laurel in 2022. The book highlights some of the world’s most spectacular flora in some of the planet’s most exotic locations and is the first in a series with ‘Off the Garden Path: Green Wonders of Australia’ on its way. 2022 was a big year and I was also named the Australian Horticulturist of the Year by the Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH), was a finalist for the South Australian VET teacher of the year, and became the editor of the International Plant Propagators’ Society (IPPS) Australian Region’s national publication.
In day-to-day life, have a permanent lecturing role at TAFESA’s Urrbrae Campus, where I get to enjoy seeing students finding their own paths in horticulture, and assisting them to take up some of the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to be afforded.
It’s been a great career so far – and it all started with receiving a Playford Trust Award.