UPSKILL: Joe Garnham, pictured with silverbeet, started the Dalby Baptist Church Community Access Garden.
UPSKILL: Joe Garnham, pictured with silverbeet, started the Dalby Baptist Church Community Access Garden. Ebony Graveur

Fresh opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers

A PROGRAM set to provide participants with a Certificate 2 in production horticulture may give Dalby jobseekers a shot at developing new skills.

Operating out of the Dalby Baptist Church's Community Access Garden, the program will be led by the garden's founder Joe Garnham.

Mr Garnham said the program would help provide work opportunities for people from disadvantaged groups in the community by teaching them skills and giving them an opportunity to turn their life around after hardship.

"What I want to do is use this qualification to instigate a change in attitude, a change in focus and a change in diligence for those people who have been beaten down by the system,” he said.

"Even if we use this as a rehabilitation exercise, there's plenty of literature out there showing people respond positively to the growing of plants,” he said.

Mr Garnham estimates 130 people have worked in the garden since its inception in June, 2016, including those in Work for the Dole programs, mental health patients and volunteers.

"We had one girl who came to us from mental health as a volunteer with a stutter so bad she couldn't get out what she wanted to say and she wouldn't look at you. Now, after spending time in the garden and working with people, she's actually not only working but she's running a kitchen,” he said.

"This kind of thing happens all the time. I used to get chuffed thinking it was a one-off, but the reality is, it happens all the time here,” he said.

The program is part of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, which aims to increase productivity, drive innovation and improve workplace performance by providing people with skills.

The program is taking place following approved funding from the Queensland Government and is designed to run across 40 weeks, leaving time at the end of the year for revision of course material and potential workplace placement.

For more information,

call Joe Garnham on

0475 816 443.


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