Kalbar Conversations Column

Meet Isaac – Kalbar’s first Gunaikurnai trainee


   Wednesday 3rd March, 2021

Towards the end of the 2020 school year, Kalbar Operations welcomed a new recruit to its team.

Year 11 Bairnsdale Secondary College student Isaac Hoskin joined the crew at Kalbar’s seed production nursery to commence on-the-job training in pursuit of his Certificate II in Horticulture.

The opportunity arose when local employment services company Skillinvest visited Bairnsdale Secondary College to give a presentation to students about local traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities. This presentation resonated with Isaac. He subsequently consulted with the Clontarf Foundation representatives at his school to explore how he could embark upon a traineeship.

Kalbar had already been working closely with the Clontarf Foundation to offer an opportunity to any local indigenous students who would consider a traineeship and learn a wide range of skills from the horticultural team at its ever-developing seed production nursery. The planets aligned and the timing was right for Isaac, and the rest as they say, is history.

Isaac spends one day a week undertaking practical work at the seed production nursery as part of his horticultural training. Normally there would be a second day of training at a TAFE campus, but TAFE Gippsland’s Bairnsdale campus does not currently offer the horticultural units that Isaac requires. Instead, Kalbar’s Manager Ecological Restoration Dr Paul Gibson-Roy, collaborated with TAFE Gippsland to develop an equivalent timetable of work that has been made relevant through Isaac’s tasks in the seed production nursery.

“I’m loving my work in the nursery and particularly because I’m outdoors, working with my hands and doing practical work. I’m not such a strong learner in the classroom environment and I’m not made for an office job,” says Isaac.

“Since starting my traineeship at the nursery I’ve learned a lot about native grasses and how to harvest seeds from the different species of grasses. I already know all the botanical names and common names of different species, and can also distinguish natives from introduced species – the knowledge just pops out.”

“It’s pretty cool to be involved in this seed harvesting and restoration work as it’s sustainable. People will see the effort made to restore land back to the state that it was before settlement and I will be very proud to look back as being part of the team that achieves that, especially as I hope to continue on to full time employment here after finishing school and my traineeship,” says Isaac.

Isaac Hoskins - Horticulture Trainee