Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

Seventeen-year-old Naomi Stingle is one of nine women studying a Certificate III in Landscape Construction at TAFE NSW Tamworth, with fee-free courses enticing women to study in-demand skills and enter traditionally male-dominated industries. 

Labour Market Insights indicates that women make up just 5% of landscaping roles in Australia, but with  the number of jobs in landscaping and gardening predicted to increase 14% by 2026, more women are  taking an interest in this growing industry. 

Naomi said she surprised herself when her Certificate III in Horticulture led to an apprenticeship in  landscape construction. 

“I’ve been running my own floristry business @FloraZara since I was 12, so I thought it made sense to give Horticulture a try at TAFE NSW,” Ms Stingle said. 

“While I was studying, our teacher Sue suggested that we take advantage of the fee-free Landscaping  course and graduate with two qualifications.” 

“I welcomed the idea of a macro perspective after being exposed to floristry which encourages more of a  micro perspective in comparison to Landscape design.” 

“I met Thomas Clements from Clements Design Horticulture through his wife and fellow TAFE NSW student Elly May. Elly was impressed with my work ethic which led her and Thomas to offer me an apprenticeship in landscape construction.” 

“Landscaping is hard and laborious work, you’re definitely going to break all of your nails, but it’s fun and  rewarding to create beautiful spaces.” 

TAFE NSW teacher in Horticulture, Sue Wood, said it’s great to see young women like Naomi with a keen  interest in the industry. 

“The combination of horticulture and landscaping knowledge is really valuable, it gives you the design and  construction capability, but also the knowledge of what is going to grow best and where,” Ms Wood said. 

“It’s also useful outside of work, you can grow your own food, get outside, and get the kids involved. 

“It’s wonderful to see more women taking an interest in gardening and landscaping, they are just as  capable as men in this industry and a career spent outdoors is always a good thing.” 

For Naomi, enrolling in a course with TAFE NSW has not only taught her new skills, but led her down a  career path she never would have imagined for herself.  

“I don’t think I ever would have considered landscaping until Sue suggested it,” Ms Stingle said.

“Even when she did, I was hesitant, but I’ve met a great bunch of like-minded women who are learning the  same skills and we really encourage each other to do well. 

“It’s good fun.”

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