A recent graduate of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program is proving to be a valued member of the team working at Yalara Hydrogardens. For several months now, Michelle has been working at Yalara Hydrogardens where she loves the relaxed atmosphere and supportive staff who grow lettuce and coriander for market and Woolworths.
“The bosses are great, the work is pretty easy and the other workers are very supportive. Everyone’s down to earth, I love the jokes and I really enjoy our Fun Fact Fridays,” she said. Though relatively new to Toowoomba, Michelle has been warmly welcomed by the team who together ensure 19,000 heads of lettuce and coriander are grown and ready for sale each week.
Sharyn, a fellow employee, who has worked for Yalara Hydrogardens for almost 10 years, said the small team of six works very efficiently. “Most of us are long-term employees. We’re like family. Our location is close to school, Oakey and Toowoomba so it is very convenient for me,” she said.
Operations Manager Lachlan said it’s important to foster a safe and friendly work environment where everyone feels like a valued member of the team. “I love being able to have a good relationship, to get out and work with everyone, as a team with no barrier between employer and employees,” he said.
It’s no coincidence that all the staff love working at Yalara Hydrogardens. The business owners, Janice and Peter, parents of Lachlan, are tenable employers with great workplace relations practices.
Since the inception of their business in 1994, they’ve embraced practice change to meet the emerging needs of the market and local community. Over the past 20 years they’ve undergone a sizable expansion: forging new working relationships across the supply chain; growing coriander from seed; and selling their lettuce heads to Woolworths and Rocklea markets.
They’re also Freshcare accredited, which is recognised against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and thus is an approved base standard under Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme. More recently they’ve become Fair Farm certified, demonstrating their commitment to good employment and gaining better access to the fresh produce supply chain.
Of all these things, Janice and Peter said they were mostly proud of the culture of their workplace. They were especially pleased to be able to employ Michelle so soon after she graduated from the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program.