Tamara Hughes has had to overcome many obstacles in her life but that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her lifelong goals.
Having lived in foster care for many years Tamara has settled in well to a new family and work life and has a blossoming career ahead of her as a florist.
Tamara has recently graduated with a Certificate III in Floristry and has spent the past two years working as a trainee florist at Jan’s Flower Shoppe in Gladstone. She is also one of more than 200 graduates from the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program which is a partnership between QGC and BUSY At Work.
After completing Year 12 at Gladstone State High School Tamara said she struggled to find work for a while but decided to volunteer at her partner’s mum’s flower and gift shop.
“I am very thankful to the owner Jan Koivunen for giving me this start. She has taught me a lot about bouquets and how to put them together in a pleasing way. Having had a creative background and a natural eye for colours I felt I was able to pick up the skills very quickly,” Ms Hughes said.
Despite having a natural ability for floristry Tamara said there was always a lot to learn as well as the pressure of being able to meet deadlines in a commercial business.
“I enjoy the artistic side of the business and learning how to design line, modern and traditional style arrangements. When you see the reaction people have when they collect their bouquet it is a great thrill knowing you have made something special,” Ms Hughes added.
Tamara said she was very grateful for the mentoring support she had received from BUSY At Work and the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program.
“BUSY At Work’s Apprenticeship Support Officer was there every month to offer support and advice and they have been a big part of my career development so far.”
To help broaden her career Tamara is now undertaking further studies in beauty therapy.
“Floristry is my passion but I also love learning new things as well,” Ms Hughes said.
Tamara said she also hoped to go to Japan in a few years on a working visa to further her career in floristry.
“I would like to use floristry to travel and learn about new cultures. Japan has their own style and techniques in floristry and it would be a great opportunity to step outside my comfort zone,” Ms Hughes said.
Jan’s Flower Shoppe owner, Jan Koivunen said Tamara had worked very hard to achieve her Certificate III in Floristry.
“Not many people appreciate the depth of work required to take a perishable item and produce something special from it. Tamara has always shown a great aptitude and flair for making beautiful bouquets and she is a valuable member of the team here at the shop,” Ms Koivunen said.
BUSY At Work, CEO Paul Miles met Tamara at the recent QGC Graduation in Gladstone and said she had set a great example for other people who have overcome difficulties and challenges in their life.
“With the support of BUSY At Work and the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program Tamara has shown herself to be a very capable and diligent employee and I feel confident that she has a great career ahead of her,” Mr Miles said.
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