Jen’s Nursery

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Jen's Nursery is a local community garden that maintained by hard working students on traineeships

Jen is an incredibly tender and devoted teacher who caters to the needs of all of her students with grace and love.

Jen created the Abilities Plus – Learning by Doing Program in 2000 to give back to people and help change their lives. Jen had a tough childhood herself which has given her the drive to help others find the road to recovery.

Jen creates an educational environment where her students feel:

· Safe
· Valued
· Validated, seen and heard
· Feel purposeful
· Feel not alone

Jen understands that these are our core needs in any relationship. She does a great job at identifying and valuing these needs for the benefit of her students and others, leading ultimately to healthier and happier communities and a high retention and transformation in her students.

The Abilities Plus Program Jen runs is a traineeship. She supports up to 10 participants at a time. The training is focused on creating organic foods through gardening. Offered as a 6 month program called Conservation and Eco System Management - Certificate 1. This training is proudly funded by the Queensland Government through its Skilling Queenslanders for Work Initiative.

Everything Jen teaches is practical in nature as her motto is “learning by doing”, from turning dirt into soil, to producing culinary herbs, fruits and salad vegetables.

It is not surprising that Jen has an incredibly high graduation success rate from her students because despite their disadvantaged backgrounds she creates a sanctuary for them to feel empowered, learn, grow and also become good citizens to society by giving back to organisations such as Rosies, Gold Coast Passport Rotary Club and Serving Our People. Many of her students choose to work with her and become very loyal workers for her into the future as they not only complete the formal training in this course but learn to embody the virtues of compassion, kindness, loyalty, diligence, conscientiousness and love.

Jen also ensures she places her student in employment through her extensive networks which she has developed within the industry. She has won many accolades for her service work to the community as an ‘unsung hero’ and for diversity and inclusion in the workplace including 2015 Gold Coast Volunteer of the Year, an Australian of the Year nomination in 2015 and a Small Employer of the Year finalist at the 2016 and 2023 Queensland Training Awards.

This is a testament to her character, reputation and as such she is a well-known referral source for employment into other organisations.

Jen is a rare, empathetic, talented teacher who has the unique ability to unveil the gifts out of each one of her students so that they can grow, prosper and have a beam of hope into their future. Her programs benefit the community and provide a runway to longer term employment.

Jen also ensures that her students become responsible citizens and valuable contributors to society by emphasising the importance of volunteering and helping those who are less fortunate than us by paying it forward.


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