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From a TAFE course to their own low cost floristry start up

A group of local Indigenous elders did more than discover a new appreciation for native florals after studying with TAFE NSW Campbelltown.

The Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation’s Elders Group have also started their own low cost floristry business

It all began with a ceramic course at TAFE NSW Campbelltown in 2019, in partnership with Campbelltown Arts Centre.

During the ceramic course, several elders expressed an interest in developing their knowledge and skill in small business enterprise to give back to the local community. 

They reached out to Thelmarie Rudd, a TAFE Aboriginal education and engagement coordinator, requesting training in floristry. 

“We connected the group to the floristry section at TAFE NSW Padstow and career pathways and employability skills at TAFE NSW Liverpool to determine how we could accommodate them,” Ms Rudd said. 

“We found that the elders wanted to study floristry to enhance their connection to native florals and build their own business skills.” 

The elders enrolled in a statement of attainment in floristry and a statement of attainment in study and employability skills courses – in an Aboriginal context.

With the assistance of Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan, TAFE NSW floristry teacher Wadad Mourad led the elders in a tailored floristry course, teaching them how to make arrangements from both native flora and introduced species. 

“Working with the elders we focused on showcasing Australian native flowers,’’ Wadad said.

“The elders had created their own ceramic handmade containers so using colour and texture as a base, the class chose flowers and materials to complement the vessels they had created.

“The Elders enjoyed the course and learnt floristry skills that were put into use at the Budjari Mudjingaal exhibition as part of the Campbelltown Bicentenary celebrations and which also formed the major work of the course.” 

The group of elders were supported through the course with a yarning circle held each week by an Aboriginal teacher, to exchange ideas and stories and discuss ways the students could use their newfound skills to give back to others. 

With the support of Campbelltown Arts Centre, the students have now set up a low-cost floristry service for their local community. 

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