Horticulture Scholar – In Honour of Sir John Pagan
Listen to John chatting to BBM Ambassador Graham Ross on his 2GB Radio Show “The Garden Clinic”
My passion for Horticulture began in Darwin when my family moved there for my years 9 and 10. The school I attended offered Horticulture as an elective. I chose to do this in year 9 and found that I enjoyed it and had a natural affinity for it. So much so that I took it as an elective in year 10 as well. On returning to Tasmania, I made sure I was able to continue my studies in Horticulture which is so suited my learning style being outdoors and hands on. I also liked the challenge presented by it, and I have learnt a wide range of different aspects of Horticulture including pests and diseases, lawn maintenance, plant identification, propagation, irrigation/fertigation, weed identification, plant establishment and nursery work.
As the youngest Cert II Horticulture student at TasTAFE in 2017 (I was 16 years old) and surrounded by many other mature students from all walks of life, I discovered that we were able to form real connections through our mutual love for gardening! The style of learning that TAFE delivered, a great balance between theory and hand-on experience, really worked for me. It was for this reason that I was inspired to continue my vocational journey, completing Cert III Hort in 2018 and currently undertaking Cert IV Hort. Of real benefit during my studies was TAFE’s focus on getting students ready to participate in industry, with work placements and industry visits being the key. It was through my work placement at Westland Nurseries that I was able to secure permanent work, where I have been able to gain valuable experience from an industry leader in Tasmania over the past two years.
My BBM Global Industry Scholarship is an excellent opportunity for me to continue my horticultural journey by broadening my knowledge and enable me to confidently engage and share my new experience with others.
As a young person just starting out in my career, my industry network is, so far, limited; this is an opportunity to build new connections, gain a better understanding of the opportunities available to young horticulturists and hopefully get a solid idea of areas of interest, new concepts in the industry and use these learnings as a launch pad for my future in the industry.
Being one of the youngest students through my TasTAFE Certificate II/III/IV and also at my current workplace Westland Nurseries, I believe the global exposure and increased confidence I will gain during my scholarship experience will enable me to assist and encourage other young Tasmanians to embark on a career in the horticulture industry, which I have continued to grow in and love over the past four years.
I have never travelled outside Australia, so this is truly a very exciting and daunting opportunity.
I would like to gain both educational and working experience in England, a country that has such a long and rich horticultural history. I am told by my close friends in the industry that The Royal Horticultural Society has led the encouragement and improvement of horticulture across England and shares this knowledge through its community and learning programmes, world class gardens and shows; I would like to be able to participate in some way in this community.
In 2019 I worked with a group of volunteers to build a garden for a local lady who was dying from brain cancer. Over a number of weeks we prepared the site, planted out the garden and did a follow up clean up. Preparing the site involved a small group of dedicated volunteers to decide how the planting out would proceed and how the larger group would be best deployed. I had a leadership role in the site preparation because of my Horticulture experience and was asked for guidance around plant selection.
My career goal is to never stop learning! I have a real passion to learn from industry experts, put these learnings into practice in a way that fits within the ideals of sustainability and also innovation and then share my learnings and practises with my growing horticultural community.
I share my learnings in the hope of broadening the horizons of both myself and the people around me, in both personal and work settings. I want to continue to be inspired and one day be able to inspire those around me.
“Passion is very much evident personally and professionally, and John is aware of the need of more sustainable practices within the industry […] I believe he will have a great work experience that will be of benefit to all.” – BBM Industry Panel