14 April 2023

Young TAFE propagating success with new horticulture course

| Edwina Mason
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Kelly and Stephen Hegyi, former longtime owners of popular Young restaurant Cafe de Jour, are on a new life path thanks to a course on offer for the first time in more than a decade through Young TAFE. Photo: Young TAFE.

Hilltops locals will be armed with the practical skills and experience to tap into the booming horticulture field with a special qualification being offered for the first time in more than a decade at TAFE NSW Young.

A face-to-face Certificate II in Horticulture is currently running at TAFE NSW Young, with strong enrolment numbers and students from a cross section of ages and professional backgrounds.

It comes amid a COVID-induced explosion in interest in gardening careers, as many locked down residents discovered a passion for horticulture and decided to pursue a career in the field.

According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook, the nation’s gardening services industry is set for strong growth in the next year, generating annual revenue of nearly $3 billion by 2024.

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One local couple to take advantage of the fee-free course is Kelly and Stephen Hegyi, former longtime owners of Young’s popular Cafe de Jour.

After selling the restaurant and operating a market garden from their sprawling 10-acre property, the couple decided to go “back to school” in pursuit of a new personal and professional challenge.

“We’ve always been mad keen gardeners but really wanted to build our hands-on skills and knowledge,” Mrs Hegyi said.

“TAFE NSW has been fantastic,” she said. “It’s provided us a great networking opportunity with others that are passionate about gardening and the teacher has taught us so much.”

Ms Hegyi now operates a small gardening services business locally while Mr Hegyi is helping run Golden Glance Nursery on Young Road.

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TAFE NSW Young head teacher of horticulture, Sarah Cox, said there were strong job outcomes for Certificate II in Horticulture graduates.

“Anything from working at a nursery to opening your own gardening services business,” Ms Cox said.

“We have had such a strong response to the course in Young and it really is an exciting time to be entering the industry.”

Australian Institute of Horticulture national president Alan Burnell said the new course would help the local industry build a pipeline of workers to cater for growing demand.

“We’ve seen incredible growth in the horticulture industry over the past few years as people are increasingly looking for jobs that are more sustainable both environmentally and financially,” he said.

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