2020 Jake Keller Scholarship Award

In his application, Matthew recognised the benefits of studying Horticulture at CIT, remembering as a child the enjoyment of playing with his toys in the deep grass in the backyard and imagining it was giant forests filled with peril and adventure.  As he grew older, his enjoyment of just being in gardens continued to grow. He never really knew what he wanted to be and so decided not to go to university and just entered the workforce in the retail industry where he has spent the last 17 years or so. But gradually he found he was enjoying it less and less. In the meantime he felt his love for gardens, trees, farming and horticulture in general grow and grow. His garden became a haven and place of solace to keep him sane.

This year was a milestone as he made the leap to leave retail and his well-paying job of 15 years (which he didn’t enjoy).  He will also complete Certificate 3 in Horticulture at CIT.

Now that Matthew is happily working in the horticulture industry, and he's even more certain his future lies in this field, his plan is to continue to study at CIT.

Matthew believes that to gain work experience in an internationally-respected organisation such as the National Arboretum would definitely benefit his career in horticulture. The National Arboretum provides important research and development facilities, helping to raise, grow and protect threatened species, and discovering and trialling new ways to cultivate and create resilient living green spaces which can survive the ever-growing threats that overpopulation and climate change are causing.

The decision to study horticulture at CIT, using his free time while still working full-time to make ends meet, in order to pursue his interest and create a future career for himself! That’s what he's most proud of.  We're proud of him too!