After taking a long break from work due to personal health issues, Melanie* felt ready to embark on a new learning journey after the COVID lockdown. She discovered CERES, a nearby Learn Local provider and enroled in the ACFE course, ‘Complete Urban Farmer.’ The course not only allowed her to acquire new skills but also provided an opportunity to reconnect with nature and find purpose in planting and growing.
Melanie describes her experience as ‘therapeutic’ and credits CERES for helping her reintegrate into the world.
Encouraged by her positive experience, Melanie went on to complete another Learn Local course, ‘Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture,’ taught by an engaging and passionate teacher named Justin. The small class sizes, offering a safe and personal learning space and the unique indoor-outdoor classroom setting at CERES added to her learning experience.
Melanie acknowledges the support she received from staff members like Karen and Chris, who genuinely care about their learners and guide them towards suitable programs. “ I was happy to come here every week. It’s like a little village. It’s truly inspiring,” says Melanie.
CERES courses are highly regarded in the industry for their alignment with industry needs, and upon completion, learners have access to pathway sessions and information handouts about further learning opportunities.
Melanie is currently participating in a CERES pilot program called the ‘Green Gap Year,’ which combines study, volunteering, projects, and community work and gives Melanie an idea of what it might be like to undertake a VET (Vocational Education and Training) course. Mentors provide guidance and support, and Melanie sees this as a stepping stone towards a career that contributes to the health of the planet and sustainability.
For Melanie, learning is essential for maintaining cognitive health, staying engaged, and ensuring future employability. She appreciates the little accomplishments that she can add to her resume, as they provide confidence and valuable references.
Melanie feels that her experience at CERES has opened up new pathways for her, allowing her to blossom, build connections, and cultivate a circle of friends. Overall, she describes her journey as, “an incredible experience filled with personal growth and a vision for the future”.
*Not the learner’s real name