Tracey O’Hanlon and  Ken Fairweather (UnitingCare) with trainees Cecil Fisher, Noah Maks, James Stanley, Graham Gyemore; and Jess Abernathy (UnitingCare) (Photo: UnitingCare)

February 6, 2024

Four trainees have been making a big impact at the Ny-Ku Byun Elders Village in Cherbourg, thanks to a UnitingCare Queensland program.

The four – Graham Gyemore, Noah Maks, Cecil Fisher and James Stanley – are the first of at least 10 trainees that UnitingCare aims to support through its Indigenous Employee Initiative.

The trainees are completing the practical component of their TAFE Horticulture Certificate III qualification at Ny-Ku Byun and at the Canowindra Aged Care facility in Kingaroy.

They have been working to transform the grounds at the two sites by mulching, pruning, planting, weeding and watering as well as helping with maintenance tasks.

A UnitingCare spokesperson said that when the four finish their 38-week course, they will not only be qualified in horticulture and garden maintenance, but will also have manual driving licences and understand what it takes to maintain a multi-resident facility.

“This is not like other jobs,” Noah said.

“Every day is different, and every hour in the day has a lot of variety and interesting things to do.”

James said the trainees liked to “divide and conquer”.

“But not in the normal way. We divide the work and then smash it so it’s done quickly and properly,” he said.

Maintenance supervisor Mick Pratt said the four trainees were “passionate” and were enriching the lives of UnitingCare residents.

“It’s almost a secondary bonus that the grounds now look the best they have ever been,” he said.

Ny-Ku Byun is run by Pinangba, an arm of UnitingCare, while Canowindra is run by BlueCare, another part of the UnitingCare family.

Trainee James Stanley, left, doing a healing smoking ceremony for clients and staff at Ny-Ku-Byun, something which he would like to do every month (Photo: UnitingCare)

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