Green Gap Year

Green Gap Year is a seven-month program designed to connect you to a green career.

People gardening, looking happy

Green Gap Year is a seven-month program that provides a learning and work experience pathway to a green career.

The program is designed to connect people to their purpose, the Earth and a community of learners and peers wanting their next life and career steps to be greener. Green Gap Year equips people to LIVE, LEARN and EARN for the Earth.

Each participant will have a pathway guide that will help to tailor their learning, work experience and community project building journey to build the skills and knowledge they want for the next steps in life and career. The program will also connect individuals with mentors working in the green sector.

Program details

This program is currently on hold. Watch this space for future Green Gap Year updates!

CERES Brunswick, corner of Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, Victoria

Complete core topics and choose from multiple green learning pathways (including):

  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Social Enterprise
  • Environmental Education
  • Intro to Horticultural Therapy
  • Climate Change and Advocacy
  • Landscape Restoration and Indigenous Perspectives

The Green Gap Year Program runs across seven months, with the aim for all participants to continue the year in the next step on their green career path. The program will run 1-3 days a week depending on your selected electives, project stage and tailored timetable.

In the program you will be guided through the following four stages of deep learning:

  1. Heart: Connection to self, others, nature and a purpose
  2. Head: Learning and gaining knowledge through CORE courses and electives to match passions and goals
  3. Hands: Applied skills and real-world experiences through volunteering, mentor support and work experience
  4. Earth Service: Demonstrating initiative, innovation, self-management and professional practice through community projects, internships, business pitches & plans

Green Pathway guides help build your journey to match your purpose, and learning and career needs. Participants will start with Stage 1. activating their HEART and passions by defining their purpose, connecting to their core values, experiencing nature connection, and understanding how to build well-being and resilience. They will learn about green career skills and setting goals, systems thinking and community engagement.

When you register please select topic areas and courses you would like to be enrolled in. Read more to help your selection.

Participants will be given a choice of learning and volunteer placement electives unique to each program stream which best suit their passions and interests, these electives will range from daily workshops, guest speakers and business/farm tours to immersive longer length courses

HEAD – Learning and building knowledge

CORE learning experiences:

  • Orientation-week
  • Connection to self, purpose and values
  • Connecting to Country, Connecting to Nature
  • Green Skills and Careers
  • Industry Based Practice and Guest speakers
  • Workshop Series and more…..

The following electives and workshops are an example of what will be offered:

  • The Complete Urban Farmer
  • Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture
  • Green Accredited Skill Sets
  • Intro to Horticulture and Permaculture (Accredited Taster)
  • Landscape Restoration and Indigenous Ecology
  • Intro to Social Enterprise – Working for Purpose
  • Social Enterprise in Action – Tours
  • Environmental Education Course
  • On-demand learning courses

HAND – Applying your skills at CERES

Participants will choose the volunteer and work experience program that aligns most with their green business passions and goals. Volunteer and gain work experience in Honey Lane Market Garden, Propagation, Joe’s Garden and our Social Enterprises. We have tailored this stage of the project to get the perfect blend of volunteer experiences at CERES from our working farm, and permaculture, horticulture and social enterprises.

LEADING – Earth Service and Professional Practice

Real world application of the knowledge, skills and work experiences.

This important part of the program may include working with or creating a community based project, and/or building on and using existing networks via a community based initiative. Participants may spend this time being an ‘apprentice’ farmer with one of our organic suppliers or interning with a local food business or social enterprise. We will help you connect with local community groups, local farmers, micro-ag businesses, community gardens and other agricultural and food systems based partners in our networks. Pathway guides will help you shape what professional practice project or experience works for you.

Lorna PettiferLorna Pettifer has been working in environmental education and presenting to community groups on sustainability for many years. At CERES, Lorna passionately directs CERES School of Nature and Climate. She is dedicated to deepening our response to the ecological and climate crisis through CERES’ learning experiences. Her background in sustainability stems from ecology and zoology and has broadened to community engagement, environmental management, behaviour change and farm and food programs. Lorna has worked with community groups, schools, organisations, households and individuals. As an environmental advocate she has worked in national parks, environmental consultancies, universities, NGOs and wildlife reserves as a conservationist, educator, tour guide, bush regenerator, GIS consultant, environmental modeler and researcher. Lorna proudly received the Environmental Educator of the Year for Victoria in 2018 and the Australian Environmental Educator of the Year in 2019.

Abigail JabinesAbi Jabines has volunteered and worked for the horticulture industry in different capacities and work environments. She started as a volunteer propagator at CERES in 2015 before studying horticulture. After studying, she became a horticulturist for a hydroponics company, which included working with its research and development team to improve the environmental and growing conditions of horticultural crops and medicinal plants. Abi started working at CERES in 2019 which gave her an opportunity to work at an organisation that matches her values and regard for nature. She is currently a Horticulture and Permaculture VET trainer, and a staff member at CERES’ permaculture and bush food nursery. She considers her experience and training as a volunteer propagator at CERES as an important factor in pursuing her current career path after transitioning from another vocation. As a horticulturist, she is able to apply her values in a more practical and tangible way. She enjoys encouraging people from different backgrounds, especially women and young people, to work with plants and help improve the connection between people and our natural environment. Observing and figuring out how to best grow healthy plants also satisfies her thirst to learn and interest in trying tested or new idea.

Justin CalverleyJustin Calverley is a horticulturalist and permaculturist with more than 20 years’ experience and will be the lead trainer for the Urban Farmer course. Justin has extensive knowledge and experience in permaculture, garden design, organic gardening and native bushfood plants. He specialises in edible gardens and is an expert in fruit tree cultivation and pruning.
For more than 10 years Justin has taught workshops at CERES in sustainable gardening and permaculture. Justin was a regular broadcaster on 3RRR’s ‘Dirty Deeds” and “Breakfasters”, is a presenter on Channel 31’s “The Garden Tap” and author of The Urban Farmer.

Anne GalbraithAnne Galbraith has a Social Sciences background and has studied conservation and land management and visual arts. Anne is currently completing a Master of Social Work. Her experience includes work with the elderly and people with dementia, children and teens in out of home care and people living with disability. She is currently working with women and children who have experienced family violence and or homelessness. Anne has recently had the opportunity to design and create a sensory garden in a crisis accommodation service where she runs a sensory garden program.

Darren Tinker has a passion for plants and the way people interact with the natural environment. Coming from a horticulture and geography background, he discovered his passion for education and engaging people through environmental education while working as an educator at La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary and also in his time as an Environmental Programs Assistant at a private college. Darren enjoys volunteering with humanitarian and environmental organisations, participates in community projects and has a keen interest in Permaculture. Outside of CERES he also works as a gardener with the Diggers Club.

Pathway Guides:

Karen Mengell
Karen Mengell – VET Coordinator, Adult Learning Programs
Karen began her education career in Kenya teaching in disadvantaged community secondary schools. After further roles in the corporate, government and philanthropic sectors she has for the past 20 years worked in a variety of adult education settings primarily designing and coordinating the delivery of Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs.

Karen has a strong focus on supporting a diversity of clients, including youth at risk, those with disabilities, career changers and the long-term unemployed, to identify their goals and strengths and support the exploration of and transition to green career pathways. Karen holds tertiary qualifications in management, training and philosophy, politics and economics.

Luisa Cardamone
Luisa Cardamone – Relationships and Program Logistics Manager – Adult Learning
For more than 20 years, Luisa had visited the site as a nearby neighbour and for the past 12 years has been thrilled to call CERES her workplace. Luisa manages the adult learning programs encompassing sessional, deeper learning and accredited courses across all things sustainable for individuals and groups ranging from corporate to the marginalised. Across gardening, cooking and the creative, she has grown the program offerings over the years. Her aim is to draw expert, passionate presenters to pass on their knowledge and skills so we can continue to lighten our footprint.
Christine Pendleton – Administrative Assistant and Green Gap Year Coordinator
Growing up in a rural setting has led Christine to always feel a strong affinity with nature. After many years in retail, Christine decided to follow her heart and make a career change that aligned more with her values of caring for the environment. With a goal to work for an organisation that focused on making a difference through empowering the community and promoting sustainable education, CERES was a perfect fit!
Christine has tertiary qualifications in sustainability, community services and fine arts, and has a passion for social justice, food security and biodiversity. She loves nothing more than being able to spend her downtime searching for new bushwalking trails and just sitting and taking in the sights and sounds of the natural world.

To register your interest please fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) form by clicking the ‘register now’ button. One of our ‘Green Pathway Guides’ will then be in touch with you to chat about what you want from the program and make sure it is the right fit for you. You will then be taken through the next steps to lock in your place.

For any enquiries about the Green Gap Year Program please email us at

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants must be permanent residents of Australia to be eligible for enrolment in the Green Gap Year Program.

CERES reserves the right to cancel courses or workshops due to insufficient numbers.

If we cancel the course or workshop you will be entitled to a 100 per cent refund, or you may choose to transfer to another date, subject to availability.

If you decide to withdraw seven or more days prior to the course or workshop date CERES will retain a 10 per cent administration fee.

If you decide to withdraw less than seven days prior to the course or workshop date CERES will retain 100 per cent of your workshop fee.

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