Fires spark new learning path for Corinna

The shocking day Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland burnt down was the same day Corinna Schindel lost her dream job.

The 39-year-old from Lower Beechmont had worked at the award-winning heritage listed property for 18 months and had only been in her new role as guest activities coordinator for two months.

“I was heartbroken because of the damage caused by the fires, it was a scary time and lots of people I know from the community were affected in many ways – including me,” said Corinna.

“I had only been in the new position at Binna Burra for a short time and I was worried when they re-opened that they may not re-hire me because of my out of date qualifications.

“I knew I had to do everything I could to ensure that I could get my dream job back so I utilised the time to study at TAFE Queensland.”

Over the past 12 months Corinna has been completing a Certificate III in Horticulture at the Ashmore campus and is proud to say that Binna Burra has hired her back since re-opening.

“Not only did TAFE Queensland educate me to help get my job back but the whole course was life changing,” she said.

“Our amazing teacher Kim said to the class in the first few days ‘prepare to see the world through different eyes’ and I can honestly say that this is true.

“The skills I have learnt are helpful in many parts of my life such as growing my own fruit and vegetable garden and especially at work at Binna Burra as I am now adequately knowledgeable and educated to explain about all the different trees and plants to our guests.”

Corinna said even though at the time she felt lost and heartbroken, she is thankful that the fires opened up the doors to new learning opportunities.

“The fires and losing my job was extremely devastating at the time but there was a silver lining for me and I will forever be grateful that I had the chance to get the most amazing gift of all which is the gift of education.”

To someone who has lost their job or is thinking of up-skilling, Corinna said to not think twice about studying with TAFE Queensland.

“It is great, you get to study with a variety of ages and personalities with a range of support from staff and teachers to assist you while you learn,” she said.

“Our wonderful teacher connected many of my classmates with businesses who are now employed with them and we got to experience real world projects such as working at the Gold Coast Regional Botanical Gardens.”

For more information about TAFE Queensland’s Horticulture courses please call 1300 308 233 or visit