Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jobseekers' flood stuns wholesale nursery manager

Image: A colourful crop on its way to retail outlets from Marlborough Nursery, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

JOBSEEKERS often complain about their heavily massaged applications 'falling into a black hole' without any response from the employers. Although recruitment specialists say the applicants should not take this personally because employers are often too busy to reply to dozens or hundreds of candidates, many bemoan the lack of advice. Someone who has their heart set on an advertised position may need closure to let them move on and continue on life's pathways. A bright magenta and yellow notice in the Classifieds has invited employers to place a simple two-centimetre notice to notify unsuccessful applicants and allow them to escape their 'limbo'. The campaign underscores the good old-fashioned courtesy that underpins the service mentality of classified advertising through many generations. Tuesday's Bayside Bulletin helped about 150 people 'move on' with Marlborough Nursery's notice thanking applicants for the recently advertised nursery hand positions.
Nursery manager Michael Duffy was surprised at the big response. He said the nursery recruited new staff twice a year and this time received about double the usual number of applications, most by email. The nation's growing unemployment rate has been making headlines, and Michael said the response rate could be 'a sign of the times' but many applicants had indicated they were seeking a change of direction in their lives. The applicants ranged from teenagers to seniors, with men and women equally represented. Michael said few had horticultural qualifications or experience – which had been more common when the Redlands' nursery industry was bigger. He has worked with Marlborough Nursery for about 30 years and has been manager for about the past 10. The nursery has 26 staff and needed four new hands this summer.
Marlborough Nursery began in 1979 as a small ‘back-yard’ hobby nursery and developed on a Wellington Point site but later expanded to Redland Bay where it now does all its growing. A wholesale nursery, it does not open to the public but its products feature in stores, garden centres and florists "from Cairns in North Queensland to Adelaide in South Australia and everywhere in between". Marlborough Nursery specialises indoor flowering and foliage plants, with a range including anthuriums, bromeliads, spathiphyllum, orchids, alocasia, calatheas, dieffenbachia and stromanthe. The nursery states two of its milestones as being in the first group to be accredited under the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA) in 1993 and more recently gaining EcoHort accreditation. "We pride our self on our quality and service and are continually trialling new varieties to add to our existing range," the nursey says.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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