Gardens at sẏd

For over fifteen years, Gardens @ sd has provided rakatahi who are work ready and willing an opportunity to participate in real work - earning money and gaining skills on the job. 

A taste of real work is sometimes just what a young person needs to make change in their life.

Gardens @ sẏd is one of the Southern Youth Development's cornerstone experiences.

The tīma at sẏd work in partnership with the Dunedin City Council Gardens team at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens where trainees support the Gardens with lawn mowing, cleaning and hard surface maintenance.

This allows us to provide young people with a first time experience of paid work.

Skill development, mentoring support and - most importantly - sense of self and connection to the whenua are the key outcomes for our trainees, as well as completing critical work at one of Dunedin's most beautiful attractions.

Trainees who finish their role with us leave with references, on-the-job qualifications and pathways into future employment with similar businesses.


This programme is only possible because of generous funding from the Dunedin City Council. Whakawhetai ki a koe mo to tautoko.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are young people selected to be a trainee?
Young people must be work willing and work ready - meaning that they have to be able to commit to the role, just like a real full-time job. If engagement in education or employment is a challenge for a young person, they may be better suited to other support at sẏd before being considered for a Gardens role. We want the young person to succeed in their role, so they must be willing to get stuck in just like they would in a real job.

Do trainees get paid for their role at the Gardens?
Yes - all trainees are paid for their roles as they are employed by our team and are subject to all employee/employer laws just like in any other job. 

What further employment options are there once trainees have finished their role?
Around 85% of our trainees go on to other employment once completing their trainee role with us. Common employment for our ex-trainees are in environmental infrastructure and apprenticeships in the environmental sector. Other trainees go on to employment in retail, customer service or another trade as this programme supports employable skills not just gardening and maintenance skills.