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Caring for her tribal land

TAFE Queensland graduate Tamieka Barlow has a strong connection to Country, and a powerful desire to preserve the environment for future generations.

A proud Binjurra Aboriginal woman, Tamieka has obtained a double Certificate III in Horticulture (AHC30716) and Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management (AHC31416)*.

Tamieka said her formal studies complement her traditional knowledge.

“My people are from the Ngaikungo country on the Atherton Tablelands, and my Aboriginal totem is Binda, meaning beautiful waterfall,” Tamieka said.

“I love being outdoors, and I have been working for Conservation Volunteers Australia since I was 16 years old."

“I really wanted to expand my skills and knowledge within the industry, so I enrolled at TAFE Queensland."

"My teachers were so helpful and knowledgeable, and I was even able to complete training to operate and maintain chainsaws."

Tamieka gained her qualifications after six months of hard work, travelling more than two hours return to study at the Cairns campus.

“I live in Malanda, so I was driving back and forth to Cairns from the Tablelands every morning and evening, four days a week,” Tamieka said.

“I had to wake up early and go to bed late so I could do my assessments."

“In some ways it was draining, but I kept myself motivated to ensure I didn’t lose my drive to succeed."

“I enjoyed meeting new people who had an interest in the same thing as I do."

Tamieka hopes to use her TAFE Queensland training to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps.

“I would love to see myself as a head Indigenous Ranger working on my tribal land,” Tamieka said.

“I want to teach youth about the importance of trees, conservation and the horticultural industry to hopefully get them inspired to make a change for a brighter future for the land."

“I want to be someone who makes and leaves a massive positive mark on the youth of today and the ecosystem so that there will be a future rainforest and jobs for the younger generation."

Tamieka's dedication and enthusiasm for her studies paved the way for her to become a face of TAFE Queensland, with her image being used in digital and print advertising to encourage others to pursue vocational education and training.

“I was so happy that I received the opportunity to get involved in the TAFE Queensland photo shoot; it was such an amazing experience,” Tamieka said.

*The Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management (AHC31416), is now equivalent to a Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystem Management (AHC31421).