It is great to see the nursery being used as a platform for change for these people. Te Whangai offers much more than growing plants or investing in revegetation. It is an investment in others’ lives”
Mr Liddle Tui Glen
Te Whangai Trust has joined forces with Tui Glen Nurseries to give men and women who have been out of the workforce for a period of time a second chance at a fulfilled life.
Since July, a handful of long term, unemployed Franklin residents turn up every day at Tui Glen to, not only, learn fundamental horticulture expertise, but essential employment skills as well. Writing a CV, job interviewing and how to cope working alongside other people with different experiences and temperaments, are a few of them.
Since 2007, Te Whangai Trust has been running this programme with great success. The Trust recently expanded its options by leasing Tui Glen Nurseries in Pukekohe to enable their South Franklin trainees to work closer to home.
“Te Whangai’s people are passionate about what they do. For them, there are no hopeless cases, everyone has skills,” says Adrienne Dalton, trustee of Te Whangai Trust.
“It is a matter of recognising these skills and nurturing them.”
Mr Liddle, who has always been self employed, began the native plant nursery 11 years ago, with Te Whangai Trust being long term customers of his.
When he suggested that he wanted to move on, the trust took the chance to lease the nursery from him.
Mr Liddle says he was unaware of the situations people face from being unemployed for a long period of time.
“I was astonished to find long-term unemployment affects people of all ages, education levels and backgrounds and its effect on individuals and their families has shocked me.
“It is great to see the nursery being used as a platform for change for these people. Te Whangai offers much more than growing plants or investing in revegetation.
It is an investment in others’ lives,” says Mr Liddle.
The aim of the initiative is to, not train nursery workers, but enhance skills people already have and provide them with experience that employers are looking for.
“Routine, attendance records and understanding of health and safety rules are an essential part of this,” says. Mrs Dalton.
“We stay in touch with them as they move into work. We walk alongside them for a long time and help sort any issues that might arise. No one goes out into the workplace until we know they are ready.”
Adrienne Dalton and husband, Gary, originally began Te Whangai on their farm in Miranda.
“We wanted to create an alternative to the welfare system, which isolates people and promotes dependency.
We show people how to do things, rather than tell them how to do it,” she says.
“We also try to create a sense of belonging and give them a shared vision for themselves and the work they do here.”
“Te Whangai soon found that it needed to do far more than to get trainees ready for a job to be successful.
Many trainees have multiple issues that create barriers in their lives”, Mrs Dalton says.
The trust is looking for the help of medical professionals, budgeters and counsellors who have had a successful career. They can model their working life and give the trainees a hand up or advice on anything they want to know or need.
“This is a great opportunity for semi-retired people. They can help give our people a second chance and be instrumental in them becoming long-haul, loyal employees,” says Mrs Dalton.
Any help the trainees may need is brought to them in their own trusted work environment.
“Rather than send them into a strange and sterile environment to see someone, we ask therapists or counsellors to come here to the work place, where our people are at home and feel safe.”
For those who would like to help or for more information about Te Whangai Trust, please contact Adrienne Dalton on 027 240 2455, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org