UPDATE November 2017

TAFE SA Awards

It was a pleasure to see five inspiring students receive TAFE SA/Playford Trust Awards at a celebration at TAFE’s Urrbrae Campus on Thursday 9 November.

The star students were Jaydon Kovarik, Norman Schulze, Eleanor Potter, Imogen Owen and Giorgio Pantelis pictured L-R with Mr Brian Rungie, Executive Director Education, TAFE SA (far left) and the Hon Dean Brown AO, Chairman of the Playford Memorial Trust (in the middle).  In the audience were parents, friends, partners, past scholars, TAFE SA lecturers and staff and Playford Trust board members, who were delighted to share the students’ excitement at being selected.

The awards of $2000 each will help these outstanding young people undertake future studies in their chosen fields of horticulture, aquaculture; and conservation and land management.  The awards which have been running for almost 20 years are also open to students studying mining and exploration, spatial information and surveying, and food technology.

Jaydon Kovarik, Diploma in Aquaculture, TAFE SA Gilles Plains

I am currently a Year 11 student and have completed Certificate II in Aquaculture at TAFE SA and am now studying a Diploma in Aquaculture which I plan to complete in 2018 in partnership with my Year 12 studies.

Following completion of Secondary School, I will enrol at Flinders University to study the Bachelor Degree in Science (Marine Biology and Aquaculture).  My motivation for this field of study has grown through the work experience opportunities I have undertaken which include time at Humpty Doo Barramundi; Streaky Bay Oysters; and SARDI.

Aquaculture and Marine Biology fit together as fish populations and marine life play the biggest role in our oceans.  Cultivation of marine life for consumption, or restocking of water ways, is something that should be done in the future to allow for greater population growth.  Without a dedicated focus, our numbers of marine life will continue to decrease, and aquaculture is a way to prevent the impact on marine life.

This is one of my biggest goals and my work experience placements, combined with all completed and future studies are preparing me to identify my dream job in this area.

Imogen Owen, Certificate III in Horticulture and Certificate III in Parks and Gardens, TAFE SA Urrbrae Campus

Growing up in the Adelaide Hills, I was always surrounded by and immersed in plants and became naturally inquisitive about all things nature from a young age.

Through a number of experiences volunteering on self-sustainable, permaculture farms in New Zealand and the east coast of Australia I received valuable insight into the passionate people behind food production.  This propelled me into a fascination for sustainable living, especially sustainable food production, leading to my study of horticulture.

My studies have brought great joy to my life with the knowledge and experiences being something for which I am immensely grateful.  My studies have helped me to see the value of horticulture in many settings within our society, ranging from public gardens in major cities to small remote rural communities.

When I am not getting my hands dirty in the garden or enjoying plants with my family, I create delicious vegan foods for the local café where I work. This is where a lot of my garden produce ends up, with my favorite being the edible flower collection that I use to decorate celebration cakes.  I am really enjoying my horticulture journey so far and am excited to see where it leads me.

Giorgio Pantelis, Certificate III in Horticulture, TAFE SA Urrbrae Campus

Since finishing my secondary education at Concordia College in 2012, I have cultivated an awareness for living more sustainably and have dedicated a lot of my time to learning about regenerative agricultural and horticultural practices.

Coming from a Greek background, food has always been the centre of attention.  Growing up in a family and community which has practised agriculture, has driven me further towards education in the field. Through participating in various courses at The Food Forest; Fern Avenue Community Garden; and Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, the natural progression was to study Horticulture at TAFE SA, where I have extended my knowledge, learned new skills, and built relationships with like-minded people.

I am most passionate about urban agriculture and have spent some time over the past two years volunteering at Wagtail Urban Farm in Mitchell Park, which is run by Steven Hoepfner.  At home I also grow a productive food garden where I have seventy square metres under intensive cultivation, with fifteen fruit trees, a worm farm and composting system.

I am also employed at Bio Park Organic Farm in the Adelaide Hills, which is a Certified Organic market garden and orchard, growing a wide range of delicious fruit and vegetables.

Eleanor (Elly) Potter, Diploma of Horticulture, TAFE SA Urrbrae Campus

I have always loved plants and have been gardening since I was a child.

I decided to formally pursue my interest in horticulture following a career as a graphic designer.  I was keen to do something ‘hands-on’ again, so I decided to enrol in the Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE SA.  I loved it!  The subjects were so diverse and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know.  With the encouragement of my partner, I started a garden maintenance business looking after private gardens.  Studying whilst working in the field has been valuable and I am lucky to have the advice of experienced lecturers who have contributed greatly to my professional development.

I have since completed the Certificate III course and am now undertaking a Diploma of Horticulture, with a view to study a Diploma of Landscape Design to combine my interests in both design and horticulture.  I see it as an exciting challenge to create gardens that are tough, as well as beautiful and inspiring, and I hope to contribute towards building a culture of more sustainable gardening in the future.

It is an honour to receive a Playford Trust Award and I will use the scholarship to further my studies.

Norman Schulze, Diploma of Conservation and Land Management, TAFE SA Urrbrae Campus

Having travelled to various countries around the world, and spent much time in the outdoors, I developed a passion for nature and the need to conserve it.

I have studied forestry and conservation in Germany and worked for various conservation and forestry companies in Germany, as well as other European countries.  In addition, I worked for the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) in Western Australia for three seasons as a conservation employee/fire fighter.

Through the diploma of Conservation and Land Management at TAFE SA, I was able to combine my work experience from other states and countries and expand my knowledge of fauna and flora and work practices in South Australia.

Meeting new people who share the same interests and having been exposed to various employees from a range of companies, has helped me build a strong network in Adelaide.  I have always had a strong interest in environmental conservation and I want to contribute my knowledge to conserving the environment here in South Australia.

I am very honoured to be a recipient of the TAFE SA/Playford Memorial Trust Award.