11 May 2020

Online bushfire regeneration courses helping communities get back on their feet

| Dominic Giannini
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New plants growing in bushfire-affect land.

Just months after the devastating bushfires on the NSW South Coast, new plant life is regenerating in scorched bushland. To help landholders manage noxious weeds on properties, TAFE Digital has launched a free bush regeneration course. Photo: Supplied.

While bushfire recovery efforts have seemingly been put on the backburner and disappeared from public view courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, fee-free online courses are helping affected communities take rehabilitation and regeneration efforts into their own hands.

A Statement of Attainment in Bush Regeneration is being offered for free to bushfire-affected communities through TAFE Digital in a bid to assist them in helping revitalise impacted land.

TAFE conservation and land management teacher Kelly Upton said such courses would help empower locals to rehabilitate scorched bushland and give people greater insight into how to rebuild their own farms.

“It is imperative landholders and volunteers are empowered to know how to manage the situation,” said Ms Upton. “This course is really about giving residents hands-on skills and an underlying knowledge about bush regeneration.

“After the recent rainfall in bushfire-affected areas, the bushland is starting to regenerate and with that comes seed germination and a lot of weeds and new species, which can have a profound impact on biodiversity.”

Three units are being offered as part of the TAFE course: identifying different plants, bush regeneration, and how to control weeds.

Ms Upton, who has worked in bush regeneration for more than 25 years, said the bush regeneration industry was booming and the course is perfect for students and regional locals who are thinking about a career in this area.

The course can be used as a sample of the Certificate II, Certificate III and Diploma in Bush Regeneration courses that are also offered online through TAFE Digital.

“This is an employment growth area and it will continue to be, with plenty of jobs in local councils, NSW Government agencies such as NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and private enterprise,” said Ms Upton. “The course is also a great opportunity for those wanting to volunteer with organisations such as Landcare.”

Tammy Montgomery is one of the students who recently completed the Statement of Attainment in Bush Regeneration and is using her new skills to further her study and become a park ranger.

“The course was great,” said Ms Montgomery. “All the information was online, the teacher was hugely knowledgeable and helpful, and the practical assessment gave me a chance to put my learning into practice.”

Different courses are available for different regions of southern NSW, including Statement of Attainments in farm fencing, first aid, chainsaw operations, agricultural chemical skill sets, introduction to aged and community care, welding and asbestos awareness.

A full list of TAFE fee-free short courses to help build communities is available here.

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