Landscape and construction students from BGT and The Gordon are working with Pinarc Disability Services to beautify Bonshaw and grow relationships and facilities

GARDEN TIME: BGT chief executive Mandy Macdonald, Joel Nuridin, Jacques Stone, Rodney Donovan-Clancy, Nick Jacks and Pinarc chief executive Marianne Hubbard at the Pinarc Disability Support gardening and construction program in Bonshaw. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

GARDEN TIME: BGT chief executive Mandy Macdonald, Joel Nuridin, Jacques Stone, Rodney Donovan-Clancy, Nick Jacks and Pinarc chief executive Marianne Hubbard at the Pinarc Disability Support gardening and construction program in Bonshaw. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

Bonshaw is being beautified and it’s not just the local landscape gaining from the improvements to the environment.

The grounds of Pinarc Disability Service’s new Bonshaw site are looking more inviting thanks to the work of Ballarat Group Training students studying landscape and construction.

Helping them in their work are Pinarc clients taking part in their Independent Living Skills program.

A three-way partnership between Pinarc Disability Support, BGT and The Gordon (Geelong) is providing a qualification for school-based students in landscaping where BGT and The Gordon supply the students and training, and Pinarc provides the location for the practical delivery of their training.

The students spend three days a week at school, and two days completing a school-based apprenticeship.

“What I love about this is the young students are working at times alongside young people with disabilities. They are getting to know some amazing young people with a disability who are passionate just like they are, have a great sense of humour and take pride in the landscaping and garden work they are doing.”

Pinarc chief executive Marianne Hubbard

“What it has bought to us has been landscaping expertise we would not have, design ideas and the enthusiasm of up to 12 young, strong people who work really hard,” said Pinarc chief executive Marianne Hubbard.

A third group of students has just started the six-month program, with previous groups having lifted and relaid paving, demolition, levelled ground, built garden beds and made outdoor furniture.

There are plans for further vegetable and flower gardens, fruit trees and a pergola to create a welcoming environment for Pinarc clients and the community.

“The students are doing something that’s real and really valued by us and the community,” Ms Hubbard said.

“What I love about this is the young students are working at times alongside young people with disabilities. They are getting to know some amazing young people with a disability who are passionate just like they are, have a great sense of humour and take pride in the landscaping and garden work they are doing.”

The works benefit not just Pinarc clients but equip the young participants with job skills.

BGT chief executive Mandy Macdonald said many group members had found jobs and apprenticeships even before their six month course had ended.

“This is a really good way of them experiencing a range of trades and then they can start to think about future from there as the course involves horticulture, construction and landscaping,” Ms Macdonald said.