38-year old mother of two Kylie (surname withheld) joined her classmates in a practical work experience project at Bull Creek’s John Creaney Park last week as part of her studies in AgriFood Operations.
Kylie enrolled in the Certificate I course at North Metropolitan TAFE after seeking refuge following a domestic violence situation.
Leaving school in Year 10 and marrying her husband at the age of 17, Kylie had spent the last 20-years as a stay-at-home mum and carer.
“I’ve been stuck inside the house all these years and I’d lost a lot of skills and confidence,” said Kylie. “My garden with my chickens was the only thing that kept me sane all of those years – I grew everything and it was my therapy and medicine.”
Once Kylie was free from her troubled life, she decided to use her passion for agriculture to learn new skills, meet new people and improve her employment prospects.
“Having been out of school for more than 20 years, I was very nervous about attending TAFE but once I got to know the group and we all shared our life stories, I realised how amazing the course was and I haven’t missed a day of TAFE since starting,” she said.
“I had never even caught the train before coming to TAFE. Now I have skills and confidence that will help me get a job doing something I love. I’m strong, independent and I’m getting my life back.”
Kylie hopes to secure an outdoors job in agriculture once she graduates and move out of a Women’s Refuge and into her very own home with her 16-year old daughter.
North Metropolitan TAFE’s General Education Lecturer Paul Clarke explained that the tree planting initiative with the City of Melville provided students with a practical, real-life project that taught them skills in communication, professionalism and time management.
“Many of these students have come from challenging backgrounds so this project has given them the skills, motivation and confidence required to improve their lives,” said Paul.
“Students have had to manage this project from woe to go – communicating with the City of Melville representative about supplies required, learning about the trees they are tasked to plant and planning all aspects of the planting day.”
The students have spent two days per week restoring the over-grown gardens of vacated houses for Uniting Care West, to prepare the houses for families in desperate need of a home.