Working at Thomas Bros with Jacinda

Jacinda, who is 22 years old and has been with The Thomas Brothers since she was 16 originally started out on a short-term harvesting contract for one season. Now, through hard work and determination, Jacinda is working towards her Horticulture apprenticeship through Primary ITO and has been given opportunity after opportunity.

Jacinda found herself in the industry after finishing a hospitality course, she saw a demand for pickers so decided to give it a go. Starting with The Thomas Brothers so young, Jacinda has learnt everything she knows on the job, and said she has felt guided the whole way.

Because of Jacinda’s experience, she is versatile and works in a variety of jobs. During the harvest season when they’re picking the fruit, Jacinda is in the packhouse working as a quality controller. The role of a quality controller is to check the fruit and make sure that the packers on the line are doing a good job, so the graders are getting good quality fruit that meets standards, as well as making sure the quality control machine is doing its job.

After the harvest season Jacinda then moves into condition checking, which involves checking over a certain amount of fruit that’s already been packed, to make ensure it’s up to the exporting standards. After about three months of working inside, Jacinda then moves outside where she is responsible for supervising a team and various jobs such as, tip crushing, bud thinning and flower picking. Jacinda has earned a lot of responsibility and talks about it being:

“challenging yet rewarding – some days are easier than others, but I’m learning a lot along the way which is great.”

One of the most rewarding things about her role is that Jacinda feels like she is constantly learning as well as being able to gain more qualifications to create future job opportunities. Jacinda has found she has gained confidence along the way too, she enjoys “passing on knowledge and guiding others along the way.”

Jacinda’s Primary ITO apprenticeship is all done on the job, after completing a certain job during the season she then completes an assessment and moves onto the next practical.

“Thomas Brothers have been very supportive with this – about once a week I sit down in the office with somebody and I go to my assessments and ask any questions needed.”

This means Jacinda isn’t having to take her study home and can do it all at work, while earning money.

Jacinda generally works a 5 day week from 7 am to 4 pm, however during busy seasons they come in on a Saturday to stay on top of the work as well as opportunity to work more to earn more money.

As Jacinda enjoys being outside, she makes the most of our beautiful region. She loves that “it’s so peaceful here, I really enjoyed it here in summer.” In her spare time she is relaxing on the beach, reading books, visiting the national park lakes and attending the odd music festival.

As Jacinda took a risk trying out something new when starting out in the Horticulture industry and has been pleasantly surprised, she wants you to give it a try too!

“Grab any opportunity and even if it’s not you, give it a go and get the experience while you can because you never know. In the horticulture industry, you could be doing a certain job and you don’t realise that those jobs lead to other jobs – you’re not necessarily stuck in that role for sure.”