Summerland Farm showcases inclusive employment opportunities

We opened our doors at Summerland Farm to show locals how we're creating an inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive. 

May 21, 2024

Summerland Farm, our beautiful macadamia and avocado farm in the Ballina-Byron hinterland, is not your typical farm. It’s a place of inclusion, providing employment opportunities for more than 120 people with disability. 

Earlier this month, Summerland Farm opened its gates for a special showcase event, aiming to fill job vacancies and introduce the local community to the diverse range of roles available for people with disability. 

“What makes Summerland Farm so special are our teams, dedicated to providing ongoing support and training. Whether someone has years of experience or is just starting out, the farm offers tailored support to help individuals continue to achieve their career goals” says Dylan O’Malley General Manager Employment. 

The event gave visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of the farm, showcasing Aruma’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive. Guided tours gave 55 visitors – including families, schools, and NDIS providers – the chance to meet our teams and enjoy a range of demonstrations throughout the farm. NBN News also came down to check out all the fun.

Service Delivery Manager for Employment Support, Caz Tooley, shared some feedback she received on the day from an eager attendee: 

“Thanks so much for the wonderful farm tour. I was moved to tears on a few occasions about the obvious pride that all the farm workers have in their role and each other. You can feel the job satisfaction and clearly see the growth in the participants! I walked away thinking ‘I want to work there one day.’ I won’t take it off the table as an option moving forward.”

Among the job opportunities showcased were roles in farm operations, fruit packing, retail, hospitality, animal care, administration, and more. The team also introduced our School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) program, tailored to young people, providing hands-on work experience and training, to help transition those finishing school into a job they love.  

Kristen has been part of the Summerland Farm team for an impressive 13 years. In that time, she has become a qualified barista and learnt how to care for the farm’s many animals.  

I have learned food handling, and to focus on the positive.  I also did a barista course with some others and got a certificate.  I have learned to work with the customers, and to be friendly with othersI learned about some very cheeky goats, says Kristen. 

John has been an essential member of the team for nearly 14 years, handling customer service, IT support, and administrative tasks. Living with a vision impairment, John values the supportive and friendly work culture, which allows him to learn new skills at his own pace. 

“I like supporting people, learning new skills & seeing friends/coworkers in a friendly environment, says John. 

Jenna works in the macadamia dehusking team and is excited to be completing a course at work to become a qualified forklift driver.  

“I have learned lots of skills. scanning barcodes for avocados and custard apples. It’s an important job! I am also learning how to drive a forklift. I am doing a course at work, says Jenna. 

Nikko’s responsibilities include, operating forklifts, maintaining the fruit box folding machine, and hosting farm tours. Over time, he has gained more responsibilities and now meets with farmers, managing their stock deliveries and pickups. What Nikko enjoys most about his job is the people. 

“I love coming to work, the teamwork, and the people I meet. I love getting along with everyone,” says Nikko. 

Summerland Farm’s showcase event not only highlighted the job opportunities available, but it also celebrated the achievements and contributions of our teamsIt is a reminder of the importance of creating inclusive workplaces where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and contribute meaningfully to their community. 

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about Supported Employment, please give us a call on 1300 538 746 or send us an email.

You can also check out our blog ‘8 facts you didn’t know about Aruma’s Supported Employment’ to learn more.


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