Mudgee's Georgia Delarue is living her dream and getting the recognition she deserves.
The Australian Institute of Horticulture awarded TAFE student Georgia Delarue 'Horticulture Student of the Year', in recognition of her commitment to excellence and professionalism in her horticulture studies.
For Georgia, it all began one day when she offered to lend her father Steve Delarue a hand with his business, Delarue Structural Landscapes.
"I stepped in to help my father with his business a few years ago after he had an operation and soon discovered a passion for working outside and creating beautiful spaces," Georgia said.
"He encouraged me to study a Certificate III in Landscape Construction at TAFE NSW which has allowed me to expand my knowledge and further develop my skills, as well as given me the confidence to apply my studies on job sites.
"I love learning about plants, soils and construction materials that support natural landscapes, build retaining structures and install irrigation and drainage systems.
"I hope to continue to study horticulture and landscape design and evolve into a world-renowned identity of this field."
According to TAFE, employment in gardening and landscaping is expected to increase 14 per cent by 2026, with the average age of workers at only 34, and despite the industry being dominated by a 95 per cent male workforce, Georgia is studying alongside her sister Amelia, and together they are working towards taking over their family's landscaping business.
"It's really no surprise that I have followed my family into the structural landscaping business, and attending formal training with TAFE NSW has only solidified my passion for the industry.
"TAFE NSW has provided me with the platform to ask questions and to find appropriate resource material to make sure I can do my best on a work site. It's also allowed me to further my knowledge in plant propagation, something I'm really interested in.
"My goal is to continue to learn and work alongside my father in our family business and when he retires, I will continue to develop and grow the business with my sister Georgia."
Steve Delarue, says the landscaping industry is as busy as ever, which is why it's important to have quality tradespeople on site.
"It's important to have qualified tradespeople in my team so I know that they're following the guidelines and upholding industry standards, it allows for a safer work environment," Mr Delarue said.
"I'm ecstatic knowing my daughters have followed me into Landscape Construction.
"I think we need to shine a spotlight on trailblazers like Georgia and Amelia to show other young women that having ambition and a good support network will enable them to be successful in this industry as well."