Seeds for Success

Established in 1983 by Graham and Wendy Erhart, Withcott Seedlings in the Lockyer Valley this is one horticultural workplace where an employee's opinion matters.

CEO Wendy Erhart is proud of the large array of career opportunities that make up their many departments.

"Most people here have been able to create their own path and we've helped them get to there", she says.

Grafting Crop Manager Jamie Lee's career has followed this process. Jamie has been with Withcott for eleven years. His manager gave him the opportunity to move into the specialised area of plant grafting which involves combining disease resistant roots with different types of vegetable seedlings.

Varied career paths in horticulture are one aspect of Withcott's approach to creating a positive working environment for its employees.

Ongoing training plays another role in continuing employee career development: "Training has been an absolute priority from day one," says Wendy.

"We're always trying to offer something new and exciting ahead."

Crop Protection Manager Glenn Geitz agrees. Glenn is responsible for ensuring the vegetable seedlings are free of disease and insect infestations.

As part of their training, Jamie and Glenn visited the 2nd International Symposium on Tomato Diseases in Turkey in 2007.

Wendy points out: "You need external training where people are exposed to other ideas and attitudes."

The conference allowed Jamie and Glenn to learn of new tomato diseases which are not present in Australia and plan for ways to combat them should they ever arise so that "we are one step ahead" notes Glenn.

VJ Rodney Meier