Meet Jack Kuhndt – our newest trainee

Date posted: 09 November 2018

Year 12 student Jack Kuhndt is tapping into his family’s horticultural roots by joining Adelaide Botanic Garden as part of the Aboriginal School Based Trainee Programme, supported by Santos.

The programme is an opportunity for Aboriginal students to earn a Certificate II in Horticulture while completing high school.

Jack has been undertaking his traineeship for the past seven months.

Jack’s dad and uncle are both professional horticulturalists, which inspired him to apply for the program. With a gardening pedigree to live up to, Jack says it’s been an opportunity to learn from the best.

“The experience has been amazing. Everyone has been so friendly and I’ve got to learn a lot of new things about plants,” Jack said.

“Every week, I work in a different section of the Garden and I’ve picked up so many different gardening tips along the way.”

Horticultural supervisor at Adelaide Botanic Garden, Kris Charlton, says the programme is a unique opportunity to work with a South Australian cultural and heritage icon.

“The Aboriginal School Based Training Programme is a huge benefit to students,” says Kris, “They get to work alongside knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardeners in one of the state’s most iconic sites.”

“Trainees also bring so much youthful energy – they are a joy to work with.”

The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium has partnered with Santos for the past six years to deliver the Aboriginal School Based Trainee Programme, mentoring the next generation of horticulturalists, creating 10 employment opportunities to date.

“At Santos, we are passionately committed to Indigenous education, training and employment programs,” said Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher.

“This partnership with Adelaide Botanic Garden is one of many, including the Santos Karnkanthi Engineering School with the University of Adelaide and the Aboriginal Power Cup with Port Adelaide Football Club.”

The Aboriginal School Based Trainee Programme is part of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium’s commitment to lifelong learning and engagement. Many trainees use the program as a stepping stone to further education and training.

For Jack, he hopes to continue on towards a Certificate III in Horticulture as a full-time Adelaide Botanic Garden Trainee and keep tending to his family’s passion.