Small Employer of the Year Award

The Small Employer of the Year Award recognises a small enterprise that has achieved excellence in the provision of nationally recognised training to its employees.

Providing professional, high quality arboreal services in both urban and remote regions of the Northern Territory, Arafura Tree Services encourages all its permanent employees to undertake formal qualifications. Since 2010, more than 20 of the company’s arborists have completed a range of Arboriculture qualifications at Certificates II, III and IV levels. This is unprecedented in the arboreal industry.

In 2014, the company was awarded for its outstanding training practices, winning the Small Employer of the Year Award at the Australian Training Awards.

"We’re very proud of the award. It shows that working towards goals that you are committed to and overcoming hurdles to get there, is well worth it. It is a great acknowledgement of our values, goals, professionalism and commitment to our staff and clients," said Tess Smith, co-owner of Arafura Tree Services.

It is not only Arboriculture that is offered at Arafura Tree Services. Its employees have also completed conservation and environmental management courses. Office staff undertake Certificates in accounting or financial administration and its Australian School-based Apprentices are offered the Certificate II in Administration.

"At Arafura, we try not to allow barriers to hinder our commitment to training our staff. For example, there was not a training provider up here to deliver the course, so we contracted in from interstate. Our trainees are unable to survive on apprenticeship wages with Darwin’s high cost of living, so we employ them on full wages. And, to increase participation from Indigenous people in our business, we implemented an Indigenous employment strategy," Tess said.

Arafura’s Indigenous Employment Plan is strongly linked to its training strategy with the objective of supporting local development and capacity building for Indigenous Territorians and the arboreal industry of the NT.

"It has been an amazing journey for a company like ours to have grown to become a leader in arboreal services in Australia, and we strongly believe it is our commitment and investment in training our staff that is the key to our success," Tess said.