Graduate Profile

Melanie Peters - Nursery Assistant
Stephen Wade (Employer), and Melanie Peters

Stephen Wade (Employer), and Melanie Peters

Melanie Peters - Horticulture

Nursery Assistant at Lynwood Avocado Nursery

“I finished my level 4 horticulture course a few years ago after we had bought a lifestyle block in the Far North and wanted to get into horticulture. I had since drifted back into office work but I was keen to return to horticulture. A friend who knew the manager at Lynwood Avocado Nursery suggested I make enquiries there. The avocado industry is in a huge growth phase, and Lynwood propagate avocado plants so they were looking for staff.”

“I got work here as a Nursery Assistant and I’ve worked in a few different areas but have been mostly in the clonal propagation area. I love the environment and the people here. 

“The practicality of the NorthTec horticulture course was really good training for this work.  As well as basic plant handling, we learnt about biological control and integrated pest management, plus the importance of record keeping for work diaries, weather and pests and diseases. We also did a hands-on community project making vegetable beds for a mental health half-way house in Kaitaia.”

“Although I had a good foundation in horticulture knowledge, my growth since I’ve been in this job is in gaining a better understanding of the commercial side of horticulture. There’s a lot involved in the commercial processes and logistics and I’m enjoying learning about that.”

“I have recently been introduced to all the stages in the seedling department here so I can co-ordinate my colleagues in that area. It’s a step up for me and I’m keen to learn more. I’d now like to do further higher education particularly in botany which I’ve become fascinated with since working here.”

Employer of Melanie Peters

Stephen Wade - Director of Lynwood Avocado Nursery

“Melanie approached us when she had heard that we could be looking for staff. It was immediately apparent from both her personality and her NorthTec course training that she had the drive, was interested in the field, and had basic horticultural knowledge. As well as basic plant handling skills, she knew what a fungus was, she knew about pesticides and the difference between good and bad insects – basic things across horticulture.”

“We’re a production nursery growing solely avocados from seedlings and clonal rootstocks to supply avocado plants to the industry and to retailers. The industry is in a huge growth phase at the moment because there is a global shortage of avocados, so our nursery has had a massive growth curve in recent years. We now grow a total of 150,000 trees a year and we have 47 full time staff.”

“Melanie had both the personality and the potential to be a team leader here so we started her at about the mid-way level in the team. We move any new person around different areas of the nursery to find out what they’re good at and what they like doing, and on the basis of that we’re now training Melanie to be team leader in our seedling department.” 

“She is very calm as well as enthusiastic so is great with our team. Melanie also knows the technical skills and processes involved in the clonal propagation process, and the grading and severing of trees. There’s a subtle language and context that goes working with plants and some people, like Melanie, have an eye and a feel for it.  We’re happy to have her for as long as, and as far as, she wants to be here.”

“We’re selective with who we employ here but when we’re looking for staff we need people ranging in qualifications from a Bachelor in Horticulture, to level 4 horticulture, to no training at all. What we’re interested in is someone keen on working with plants who can fit into our team.”

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