Their partnership with The Salvation Army Employment Plus is a natural fit, as it was The Salvation Army who established Australia’s first employment bureau in Melbourne in 1890.
One July morning last year, Barry Humphris was buying his morning coffee at a café in Lilydale when the Employment Plus office across the road caught his eye. Curious, he stepped inside to find out what Employment Plus could do for him. Barry is the owner of Humphris Nursery, a family business located in Mooroolbark. Humphris is a leading horticultural wholesale plant nursery that supplies more than one million plants annually to the retail, council and landscape trade across Australia.
At the Employment Plus office in Lilydale, Recruiter Amanda Dryden invited Barry to sit down for a chat as she explained how Employment Plus works and outlined the services they offer. As a provider of the Australian Government’s jobactive employment service, Employment Plus offers a professional and free recruitment service, helping businesses to find the right job seeker that suits their needs.
Amanda visited the 10-hectare nursery to better understand the business, how they work and, importantly, to better understand what type of job seeker would be a good fit. This, she explains, is essential. “You have to get to know the business,” Amanda said. “I’ve seen the nursery, I’ve seen how they work and what they need. I met with the Management team and gained a real understanding of the business, the people and their goals for the future.”
That same month, Amanda placed a job seeker with Humphris Nursery. The next month, she placed another job seeker, and then another two the following month. Fast forward 12 months and Humphris Nursery has just signed on their seventh job seeker from Employment Plus.
Andrew White, General Manager for Humphris Nursery, explains that the nursery has been employing local staff for more than 60 years. “Due to the seasonal nature of our business, we are usually recruiting for our busy spring period, when we need nursery hands for our production and dispatch department,” Andrew said.
Amanda quickly developed a keen eye for just what Humphris Nursery needed in a worker. “There was one job seeker I was sure would be a great fit at the nursery,” Amanda explained. “Then, one day while the job seeker was in the office, I noticed Barry across the road buying his coffee. I called him in and encouraged him to meet with the job seeker and to see what he thinks.”
“He came over to me after chatting with the job seeker and said ‘she starts on Monday’. That was September last year and he continues to tell me what a great worker she is.”
Employment Plus arranged for Humphris to access government-funded wage subsidies to help cover the costs of training and enabling the job seekers back into the workforce. In addition, the job seekers were fitted out with the necessary work boots and clothing, all covered through government funding.
Amanda has remained in contact with each job seeker after they joined the nursery, providing further support and on-the-job mentoring to ensure they are settling in well and that the business is pleased with their newest team member.
Another job seeker, who was employed in May at the nursery’s property in Gruyere, needed a Heavy Rigid (HR) licence for the position. Employment Plus arranged for him to undergo the training with funding through jobactive, and Amanda is now helping him to get his loader licence so he can undertake additional duties in his job.
“Humphris is a family business, and that’s very much how they operate. They treat their people like family and the former job seekers are loving the work and the supportive environment. The team at Humphris even arranged for one of the women to do some berry picking work at another business they liaise with, to ensure she still had work over the quiet winter months,” Amanda said.
As any business knows, effective partnerships are built on understanding. Andrew said: “I believe that the success of the partnership we’ve established with Employment Plus is having a recruiter who understands our workplace and the positions we need to fill. As a result, all the staff that Amanda has helped us to recruit remain a valuable asset to the Humphris team.”
It’s an ongoing and supportive working relationship that all grew from one man’s coffee habits.
jobactive is the Australian Government’s employment service that enables businesses to access professional recruitment services, at no cost to them.
By working with a jobactive provider, businesses can access a range of government subsidies designed to help cover the cost of training new employees, enabling young job seekers into the workforce and employing mature-aged job seekers.
Employment Plus is the largest not-for-profit jobactive provider. Since 1998, their experienced employment teams have worked with over 200,000 businesses across Australia. Their service provides screening and short-listing of potential candidates and, where needed, they are able to arrange relevant skills training. Post placement support and on the job mentoring can also be provided.
As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus Employment Plus makes is directed back into The Salvation Army’s social programs that provide relief to the homeless, the underprivileged, victims of disaster and many others.
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