Georgia Delarue is one step closer to taking over her father's business after she was recognised for her outstanding commitment and professionalism in horticulture.
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Recognised by the Australian Institute of Horticulture, Ms Delarue received the national award for Horticulture Student of the Year.
The Dubbo TAFE student said she was "extremely proud" to receive the recognition.
"With this award, I will use it to continue my personal and professional development within the horticultural industry," she said.
"I know that this is the future that I see myself in. I am looking forward to the endless possibilities and professional guidance from those who have already paved the way for our inspiring horticulturalists and landscapers."
The award was bestowed upon her at the annual Australian Institute of Horticulture awards night held in Cairns, an event that provided an opportunity for Ms Delarue to network with renowned horticulturalists.
Hosted by Costa Georgiadis, the ceremony was a special moment for the young horticulturalist, particularly sharing the stage with her TAFE teacher, Jewelles Heinrich, who presented her award.
Ms Delarue's journey into the world of landscape construction began unexpectedly, as she initially joined her father's business 'Delarue Structural Landscapes' as a labourer two years ago following a family emergency.
Sharing the same passion for creating outdoor spaces, she pursued a Certificate III in Landscape Construction, finding fulfilment in transforming bare landscapes into captivating gardens and structures.
"It is especially fulfilling to reflect on past work, and see the established gardens that you originally planted and structures that you built to completely transform a blank space, there's no other way to explain the satisfaction," she said.
Working alongside her sister Amelia, father Steve, and fiancé Hamish Clarke, Ms Delarue said they make a great team.
"I want to follow in my fathers footsteps and would be honoured to one day call his business my own," she said.
"It is a career that he has loved for over 30 years, and I am grateful that he entrusts his family to continue down the same path.
"I have seen first hand how hardworking and dedicated to the industry my father is, those same qualities he has instilled into his daughters."
She particularly cherishes her sister's support and expertise, aiming to expand their father's successful business in partnership with Amelia.
"I particularly appreciate that I have Amelia to lean on for support during our studies and on the job sites, Amelia amazes me with her skills and abilities and extensive wealth of knowledge everyday," she said.
"I credit her for her determination and resilience, and I am lucky that she wishes to take on this business journey together.
"I plan to build and expand our father's already very successful business in partnership with my sister, as together we make a sensational duo."
Ms Delarue's sister Amelia said she loves working with her sister because they have the same enthusiasm and drive for landscaping but different skill sets that complement one another.
"It's really no surprise that I have followed my family into the structural landscaping business, and attending formal training with TAFE NSW has only solidified my passion for the industry," she said.
"My goal is to continue to learn and work alongside my father in our family business and when he retires, I will continue to develop and grow the business with my sister Georgia."
Ms Delarue's father Steve, says the landscaping industry is as busy as ever, which is why it's imperative to have quality tradespeople on site.
"It's important to have qualified tradespeople in my team so I know that they're following the guidelines and upholding industry standards, it allows for a safer work environment," he said.
"I'm ecstatic knowing my daughters have followed me into Landscape Construction.
"I think we need to shine a spotlight on trailblazers like Georgia and Amelia to show other young women that having ambition and a good support network will enable them to be successful in this industry as well."
Passionate about breaking gender barriers in the field, Ms Delarue enthusiastically encourages more women to pursue careers in landscape construction and horticulture.
"I say 'go for it!'," she said.
"It is a dynamic profession to be a part of, as there are many different and exciting avenues that may capture your focus," she said.
Ms Delarue said there were many avenues in horticulture to choose from - landscape architecture, soil/water conservation or plant propagation, as examples.
"The reward of your hard work is in front of you and almost instant," she said.
"The gratification of handing over a completed project is very satisfying and can only be topped by the next completed works."
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