News for ‘Tahune Fields’
The team at Tahune Fields Nursery has recently enjoyed the addition of six new and enthusiastic faces to its staff.
Brady Kellaway, Owen Jackett, Ulyssis Johnson, Chris Webb, Luke Hawthorne and Simon Elliott all came to Tahune Fields in recent months, after the closure of their old workplace, Cerebral Palsy Tasmania’s The Hunt.
The unexpected loss of work was a major challenge for the men.
“Because we were in a big group we were just like a family at our old job,” Simon said.
“Then we got the news we were closing down and we had to say good bye to the site and our friends.”
However their luck improved when six of the group were able to secure work at Tahune Fields Nursery. Another three workers; Daniel Lucas, Damien Miller and David McCulloch were given positions at OAK Tasmania businesses Oakdale Industries and Mailhouse Tasmania, in a move that has proved positive for all.
For Owen, the move to Tahune provided the opportunity to work outdoors and try his hand at learning some different skills.
“Maybe in five or ten years down the track I might think about learning to drive the tractor,” Owen said.
Owen’s mum Carol said the sudden closure of The Hunt had been a disappointment for all its workers and their families. However, the opportunity to work at Tahune had proved a great one for Owen.
“In retrospect I think we got the better end of the deal and we are extremely happy,” Carol said.
“The move to Tahune has been really positive.”
Carol said the fact that Tahune Fields had been able to take a group of workers from The Hunt, had played a big role in softening the transition for Owen and his workmates.
“I was thrilled that they were willing to take at least six kids, which I think probably gave them all a base to start on,” she said.
Carol also spoke highly of the work opportunities Owen had been given at Tahune Fields.
“There has been a variety of tasks and they are training him as well, which is good because it’s important for anybody in any job to have a bit of diversity,” she said.
Janice and Trevor Kellaway, parents of Brady, said they were also thrilled at the support given by OAK Tasmania to Brady and his workmates.
“We were a little apprehensive at first worrying about all of the boys and what kind of jobs they were going to find but it has been a move for the better for Brady,” Janice said.
“He is learning a lot of new skills, working outdoors and doing the Horticultural Certificate 1 and that’s just brilliant,”
“We are just so pleased that those opportunities are available.”
Janice said the move to Tahune Fields had also been made a lot easier by the provision of work transport provided by OAK Tasmania, which also helped foster Brady’s independence.
Brady’s parents were also thrilled with the stability offered by Tahune Fields to their son.
“Tahune has been around for a long time and is a successful business,” Janice said.
“It’s been positive to know he has got a bit of security and he has been able to make plans for the future.”
In fact Brady’s plans for the future are moving ahead in leaps and bounds, with the recent purchase of his first home, a unit five minutes from his parent’s house and a five minute walk to his work bus.
“When you have a child with a disability as they are growing up and going through school you just wonder what they are going to do,” Janice said.
“It’s a bit scary at times but the way things have happened for Brady has been really good and we are just so thankful to OAK for taking the boys on.”
OAK Tasmania’s business divisions have developed an unusual and innovative use for apple bins.
Produced for the apple industry at Tahune Fields Nursery at Lucaston, the bins have taken on another use as warehouse shelving for Tasmanian home styling service Shift By Design. Shift By Design Director Adam Luttrell was first drawn to the idea of the bins as an easy and dust free means of storing the huge amount of home furnishing stock his business carried. The great attraction of the boxes was that they could be used upright, rather than products being stored on top of one another in regular boxes. This led to a much greater storage capacity in the company’s small warehouse.
“The boxes have easily doubled our capacity,” Adam said.
“We don’t have any lost space whatsoever.”
While Adam initially purchased the bins and added his own shelving and lining, Oakdale Industries soon came up with a plan to fit and line the boxes, freeing up more of Adam’s time.
“I am certainly not a carpenter by trade,” Adam said.
“The time and effort it took me to fit out the boxes far outweighed the costs of outsourcing it and getting it done by Oakdale Industries.”
Shift By Design now houses 20 upright, custom fitted apple bins as storage which not only provide good ventilation for fabrics, but can also be attached to walls or have tubing added to them to house the company’s floral stem inventory. Adam said it was fantastic to be able to access a product custom fitted to his business needs.
“We are extremely pleased with the end product,” Adam said.
“It just means everything is so much easier for us.”
He said setting up and packing away jobs was now also a lot quicker as there was no fumbling through flat boxes to find or store stock. The custom-made storage also increased the life span of the businesses’ stock, which included fragile artworks, cushions and other home wares. And being able to pack and unpack products more quickly made for greater business efficiency.
“When our stock comes back in here it is chaotic,” Adam said.
“We have furniture everywhere and removalists need to be able to easily put things away.”
Adam said it was also fantastic to be able to use a local organisation like OAK Tasmania to cater for his business needs.
“We are utilising a local resource and not buying shelving in from China or anything like that,” he said.
“My partner Donielle and I are also really pleased that we are supporting a local, not-for-profit organisation like OAK Tasmania.
“We are an early adopter in this industry so we don’t have a lot to give back to the community,” he said.
“But what we can give back is through buying locally and supporting a very worthwhile organisation such as OAK Tasmania.”
There was a real sense of achievement at Tahune Fields Nursery recently, when its supported employees put their new tractor operation skills into everyday practice.
Mark Bingham was just one of a group of the nursery’s employees who recently completed an in-house tractor operations course. And he was one of the first of many keen workers to get behind the wheel, to make all he learnt a reality.
The tractor course, which was run on the request of employees through their Individual Employment Plans (IEPs), included tractor familiarity, pre-operational checks, driver training and safety. Supported employees have the chance to review and update their IEPs each year. Training such as the tractor operations course is then developed from this feedback.
Following the course the nursery’s planting crew was placed on rotation alongside more experienced tractor operators, so all those who took part in the course could try out their new skills in their daily work environment. Tahune Fields Operations Manager Steve Brezinscak said staff at Tahune had enjoyed the course and were keen to put their new skills into practise. And while the new rotation was a little slower productivity-wise, the benefits for the workers were immense.
“It might be a tad slower, but moral wise it’s great,” Steve said.
“The guys were very enthusiastic and you couldn’t wipe the smile off their face at the end of the day. All in all it was a great, positive outcome from a course we’ve run in-house.”
Tahune Fields Nursery employees were reminded of the importance of a safe workplace when they recently took part in an on-site Workplace Health and Safety Course.
Run by Judy and Chris Clark from Rural and Equity Training Services, the information session was tailored especially for the Lucaston nursery’s supported employees, with a strong practical as well as classroom component. Chris Clark said the course catered for a wide range of understanding and experience amongst its 24 participants. For some it was an introduction to a range of issues and for others it was a useful refresher course.
“Some of the employees had a huge understanding (of Occupational Health and Safety) and some had less,” Chris said.
“It was a very practical course, we would have a talk and then we would go out and have a look at what we were talking about,” he said.
Tahune Fields Nursery employees grow and prepare more than 200,000 young apple, pear and stone fruit trees each year, to send to local and interstate growers. While the course covered obvious issues such as lifting and strapping machine safety, the use of secateurs and the identification of hazards and emergencies, it also focused on other practical issues such as getting on with workmates, how to resolve conflict, personal hygiene and understanding quality assurance.
Tahune Fields Nursery Operations Manager Steve Brezinscak said the course also highlighted what strong general OH&S knowledge many of the employees had.
“It’s always good to have OH&S training,” Steve said.
“Chris (the trainer) was surprised at the level of understanding and how much the employees did know about OH&S. (It shows how much) our supervisors have instilled safe work practices in our employees.”
The employees’ next training course will be the Certificate 1 in Horticulture, which will be run on site in August.
It was smiles all around for employees at Tahune Field Nursery who recently completed training in tractor operations and safety. Two training courses were delivered with each employee completing a morning session covering tractor familiarity and pre-operational checks, and an afternoon session that dealt with driver training and safety.
There were a few nerves from some of the first time tractor drivers as they carefully drove a tractor around a set course. Once they had mastered this skill, they hooked up a trailer and drove around the same course again– in forward and reverse! The safety remote cut-out assisted those who became a little over confident, but everyone safely negotiated the course and correctly carried out the pre-operational checks.
The tractor operations and safety course was developed at the request of our employees through their Individual Employment Plans, or IEP’s. More than 140 of our supported employees have the opportunity to review and update their IEP’s on an annual basis, which assists us to develop training courses tailored made for the individual.