Programmed Apprentice Jessica Scott-Smith had a big year in 2019, winning both Swinburne’s Pathways and Vocational Education (PAVE) award for ‘Overall Best 1st Year Apprentice in Parks and Garden’ and Apprenticeship Employment Network ‘s ‘ATOA Best Victorian Apprentice of the Year’.
For Jessica, what started off as a strong interest in conversation and zoology turned into a passion for horticulture after volunteering with Parks Victoria. Following the completion of the Green Army project in 2016, an Australian Government initiative open to young people including Indigenous Australians, school leavers, gap year students, graduates and job seekers who were looking for employment to develop skills, undertake training and gain experience in the delivery of conservation, Jessica began an apprenticeship with Programmed and Swinburne.
We sat down with her to discuss the apprenticeship, highlights and advice for others.
How did you find out about this apprenticeship?
I spoke to colleagues at Parks Victoria. Most of them got into the industry by completing an apprenticeship. I saw the opportunity come up online, so I applied and here I am!
How has your experience been with Programmed so far?
It’s been a positive one! I have an honest relationship with my Field Officer and find that I can always get a hold of them at any time. I genuinely feel I’ve been supported throughout my time in this apprenticeship.
What has been a highlight of your apprenticeship?
Many instances come to mind such as getting my Heavy Rigid licence, winning the Swinburne Award in my first year and getting the Apprentice of the Year Award.
Not to mention along the way I’ve picked up lots of experience and have met a lot of awesome people in the industry!
What are your plans for the future?
I am interested in starting up, building or promoting either a new or current project that fosters and encourages relationships between people and environment.
I’d love the opportunity to one day manage green spaces, where I can implement my ideas and showcase my creativity and passion for plants and trees. I’m currently seeking a mentor in the industry that can help me with my plans for the future and getting further in this industry.
What advice would you give to other people, especially women, looking to start their careers and are not sure where to start?
Follow your passion and support each other! Speak to as many people as you can to give you advice on where and how to start.
Like Jessica, whether you’re interested in a short course to kick start your career, a formal apprenticeship, or training to extend your existing knowledge, Programmed can help you build the skills you need to realise your potential!