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New cultural floristry course at TAFE NSW Shellharbour

[by Adam Wright]

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Image: supplied

In a first for the Illawarra, a group of Aboriginal men and women have come together at TAFE NSW to learn how to combine their culture with floristry.

Over a six-week period, the students attended TAFE NSW Shellharbour to learn floristry techniques, plant identification and plant storage. As part of the Cultural Floristry course, they created beautiful bouquets, posies, table arrangements and head pieces.

The new course provides graduates with skills they can build on by enrolling in the Certificate II in Floristry. They can also use their new skills to combat the increasing cost of living saving money creating their own floral displays for local community events, weddings, and Sorry Business (funerals).

Student Margaret Mongta from Shellharbour said she was amazed and proud of the floristry skills she had already learned in just a few weeks.

“I’m fascinated with the new skills we all learned,” she said.

“I made a basket flower arrangement in my second week. I thought it was beautiful, so I gave it to my daughter for her birthday.

“We really focused on learning and creating arrangements. Also, something I wasn’t expecting was that I find floristry very relaxing.”

Fellow student, Selina Davis from Shellharbour found her time in the class was inspiring her to be involved with people and encouraged her to explore her creative side.

“I really like it, it’s completely different from anything else I’d done and using native flowers makes it beautiful. I’m learning and I’m being involved with other people, I’m not just sitting at home. This course is bringing our mob together. This has given me inspiration to get out and do something.

“You never know, this might open our eyes up to start a business.”

TAFE NSW floristry teacher Collette Rixon was impressed with what the students had learned and achieved.

“I teach the students skills using mainly Australian native flowers, banksias and gumnuts, items the students should be able to source locally. Introduced flowers don’t carry the same cultural significance.”

“This is a very hands-on course and will give the graduates enough knowledge and skill to hold floristry workshops in their own communities. They want to be able to pass this knowledge on to family and friends,” Ms Rixon said.

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