May 14, 2020, 22:00 PM
Jayde Robson is living proof of the loyalty that comes from working for someone who truly values you.
When the Ballarat native applied to work as a turf apprentice on our Melton contract in 2016, Operations Supervisor Simon Smith decided to take a chance on her. Four years later, Jayde has completed her Turf Management qualification six months ahead of schedule, and has just enrolled at night school to do a second qualification in Horticulture – with the express goal of broadening her wings at Citywide.
“I’m at this company for keeps,” says the 29-year-old with a grin.
Today, Jayde is a shining star at Geelong’s Gordon TAFE, where she is studying her Certificate III in Horticulture.
This week, she was also named Sports Turf Association Victoria's Turf Management Graduate of the Year and will now go on to the national titles. It’s a happy coincidence for her four-strong team in Melton, where she works alongside last year’s national Sports Turf Graduate of the Year, Nathan Andrews.
Jayde joined Citywide through Given The Chance, our partnership with Melton Council and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, which provides on-the-job training and support for long-term jobseekers looking for a new career.
Before 2016, she was working at McDonalds in Ballarat, where she rose to become a store supervisor. But she was never going to find total fulfilment there.
“I always wanted a job outdoors,” says Jayde. “I went to several interviews at the local council, but they didn’t want a mature-age apprentice. But then I met the Brotherhood of St Laurence and they sent me to see Simon Smith.
“That was on a Friday, and I started at Citywide on the Monday.”
Hitting the ground running
“I remember Jayde presenting really well and being really enthusiastic at that interview,” recalls Simon Smith. “She may be quiet, but she’s switched on and she takes on every job we give her. It can be a challenge finding women for roles in horticulture, so finding someone like Jayde who’s so keen to learn is a really positive experience.
“The ideal employee for us is someone who rocks up in the morning with the minimum of fuss, ready to take on the job and work hard all day. That’s Jayde in a nutshell. We couldn’t be happier with her.”
Jayde joined the Melton turf team in July 2016 and has been working for supervisor Leigh Stewart alongside Nathan Andrews and John Robinson.
During her first three years, she spent a day each week at The Gordon TAFE doing her Certificate III in Turf Management. “Your employer can sign you off when they think you’re competent and that happened to me in November, six months ahead of schedule. I’m now back at Gordon doing nights for my Cert III in Horticulture.”
Jayde’s likely to finish her next certificate early as well, having already completed the units related to turf management. “It’ll give me a lot more possibilities in Melton, where there are 15 horticulturalists and four turf positions.”
Jayde says she’s been pleasantly surprised at the culture at Citywide. “I work with four blokes and they’re all fantastic. I’ve seen some ladies leave these kinds of jobs because it just wasn’t right for them, but I can honestly say I’m really happy here.
“Working with Nathan is a blast. He’s had so many offers since he won graduate of the year, but he’s sticking with Citywide too. I think that says everything, doesn’t it?”
Related story: Turf graduate a cut above
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications
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