Hands on training at The Farm


Mai-Wel’s Step Up participants have been getting their hands dirty at Purple Pear Farm, learning about bio-dynamic farming principles while developing work-readiness skills.

This new project aims to give seven young jobseekers a chance to develop their employability skills along with real ‘on-the-job’ training and experience. Farming and horticulture skills are not the only things participants have learned from their plot. They are learning about work health and safety, team work, effective communication, reliability, punctuality and about giving and receiving feedback.

An extra bonus the project provides is the opportunity to further develop their literacy and numeracy skills through research for their garden and plant selection. Participants have learnt to calculate how much soil, mulch, timber and other materials they require. All participants are unanimous in this agreement that working at the farm has been a lot of fun, they also say the hardest they have ever had to work. 

Kyllie Tegg, Service Area Manager of Employment Services, believes the development of employability skills is a vital to the success of any jobseeker.

“It has been heartwarming witnessing the growth in the participants during their time working at Purple Pear Farm. They have experienced the rewards and turmoil of working on the land; experiencing the heart break of losing a plot during hot weather”, said Kyllie. 

“Each participant has shown a real sense of ownership and pride in their work at the plot. I look forward to witnessing participants using these transferable skills when they secure employment”.Sarah Smith from Purple Pear Farm says they are excited to be a part of the move towards working with young jobseekers with a disability.

“Here at the farm we have a passion for growing nutritious food whilst supporting anyone who wants to do the same. We love seeing people utilising the wonderful opportunities here to learn and develop new skills”, said Sarah. 

“The productivity gained from having these young jobseekers contributing to the activities here on the farm leads to rewarding outcomes for all involved”.

The team of workers have begun to develop a real passion for the work they are doing and are really engaged in the process of watching their vegetables grow from tiny seedlings. Participants took pride in entering a small entry of kale in the Maitland Show, which earned a second place in class 33 for small fruits and vegetables. 

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The Mai-Wel Group is one of the larger Disability Service Providers in the Lower Hunter Region, providing services and programs to more than 800 clients across nine Local Government Areas.

The Mai-Wel Group employs more than 170 local support and administrative staff in addition to 110 local supported employees. The ethos of The Mai-Wel Group carries throughout the organisation from management and staff, and on to clients.

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Unit 4/555 High Street, Maitland NSW 2320
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PO Box 835, Maitland NSW 2320
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