Loran arrived in Wonthaggi with just her car, her baby and a couple of bags of clothes. After seeing the horticulture course in the Bass Coast Adult Learning (BCAL) brochure, she initially thought that it would be too expensive. After she made enquiries she learned that as a single parent with a toddler, she would be eligible for financial support and she would be able to pay out of pocket expenses through a payment program.
Her interest in the horticulture course was driven by her background in farm management prior to moving back to Victoria from Queensland.
Loran wasn’t sure she would learn much more than she already knew from her time managing farms in Qld but she entered into her course enthusiastically and found that there was a whole lot more to learn from the course and her teacher AJ. Loran completed the course and after graduating she proposed a way to ‘give back’ to the Centre and to the people of Bass Coast by creating a garden to supply fresh produce to food boxes provided by organisations such as the Salvation Army.
BCAL supported her and allocated the land, but she did all of the hard work including enlisting the help of other students, sponsorship from garden supply businesses in the region, building the garden beds up, planting, maintaining and harvesting the produce – in high heat and in blizzards! The garden has been highly productive with excess fresh food sold as part of a mini-market, with the proceeds going back into the project to shore up the spring/summer harvests.
Loran has demonstrated commitment to learning, application of what she has learned and the ability to extend her learning to create a social enterprise which she manages voluntarily.
She has rebuilt her life here through hard work and through the self-improvement that further education can bring. Having completed the horticulture course, Loran has been able to apply her knowledge to a social enterprise that has help her develop additional skills such as marketing, running a small market, finding and securing sponsorship and financial management. Her involvement in the project has also developed her social/professional connections in the region and people have acknowledged the work she has done and the good this does for the community – which has helped to grow Loran’s self-esteem and sense of purpose in life.
Loran wants to undertake a Certificate III in Horticulture and possibly become a trainer herself in the field by eventually undertaking a Training and Assessment Certificate IV.