Every component of the FISH-Bawoorrooga Community Development Initiative is an education and training opportunity.
In 2018, FISH and Bawoorrooga community planted a ‘food forest’ orchard of 400 plants, of 30 species. In 2022, in collaboration with Phoenix Academy, FISH delivered a further horticulture program to expand Bawoorrooga’s orchard and nursery. As well as gaining valuable hands on horticultural skills, participants completed units towards their Certificate II in Workplace Skills, which included first aid and workplace health and safety. Following the completion of this program, one of our young participants directly went on to gain full-time employment at the Gogo Pastoral Station:
“I can’t believe I got the job and am going to work on the station my Grandfather worked on. I want to learn how to be a horseman, to fence properly, to work the yards… and my dream is to become the Lead Stockman. I couldn’t sleep after my interview because I was so excited.” Giovan Carter
Earlier, during the construction of the Bawoorrooga Earth House, literacy and numeracy were interwoven with practical and vocational skills tasks. Participants developed skills including building, safety, maintenance, horticulture, and community governance/administration, and critical life-skills of teamwork and daily routine.
During the project FISH and Fitzroy Valley District High School established a credit-recognition arrangement whereby students’ participation in the Bawoorrooga project was credited towards their formal education. Speaking of a participating student, the Senior School Advisor remarked:
“he has become more mature, sensible and now he likes learning… That he is learning in a real sense about measurement, angles, and about tools, he’s learning to work with people, he’s learning to work in a responsible and safe way, and above all, he’s contributing to the benefit of his community.”