Thursday, April 25, 2024

Baw Baw opens space team to specialist school students

Two Warragul and District Specialist School students recently spent few days a week working alongside Baw Baw Shire Council’s open space team, gaining valuable hands-on knowledge of garden landscaping and maintenance.  

As part of Council’s student placement program, Liam and Melvin shadowed Open Space Maintenance Officers John and Kate as they tended to parks in Warragul and Drouin during their last school term. 

Liam’s placement saw him work under John’s tutelage to landscape the garden beds around the Arts Centre, including choosing and ordering plants to make the garden beds his own. 

On his time with the Open Spaces team, Liam says he loved everything about the work experience placement program and “really enjoyed completing jobs like mulching the garden beds and using the leaf blower for the first time”. 

“Waking up at 6am each morning to arrive at work wasn’t hard because I was looking forward to going. John was very kind, helpful and friendly which made me feel comfortable” says Liam. 

Melvin completed his placement with Kate at Drouin’s Civic Park, where he assisted with routine maintenance like rubbish pick up and leaf blowing. He also helped hand weed a newly planted area along the embankment behind Drouin’s outdoor pool and planted geraniums at his school. He says he learned the importance of correctly wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gloves, glasses and earplugs, and the importance of putting out safety signage before starting work for the day. 

Reflecting on his experience, Melvin says he “felt important having a responsibility of a job to be at and Kate was friendly, and I felt safe with her. I want to be a landscaper when I finish school and through this work placement opportunity it has given me the confidence to talk about my work experience at the Shire all of the time!”

“The opportunities have been incredible for both Melvin and Liam. At school we have seen growth in both students from their time undertaking work experience” says the student’s teacher, Zoe.  

Council’s student placement program encourages students at secondary or higher-level education to undertake a work experience program with Council. Facilitated through the Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning & Employment Network, students are able to test their interests in several fields and find out about potential career pathways in Local Government.  

“We’re thrilled to have accommodated Liam and Melvin as part of their work experience placements,” says Mayor, Annemarie McCabe.

“We’re pleased to offer this valuable program to our young residents and help them gain hands on real experience and discover what their passions may be.”  

Anyone seeking more information about Council’s work experience opportunities are encouraged to visit Work Experience.

Open Space Maintenance Officer, Kate and Melvin. 

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