Growing People and Plants

Participant Recruitment and Development

The involvement of Participants is central to the development of Solstice Nursery and without this Solstice would simply not exist.  The Participants have always taken ownership for the vision of the wholesale nursery and they continue to achieve and further develop their goals towards this end. 

During the summer growing season, we have between 25-30 participants for approximately 3 days a week each with the option for them to volunteer to work further hours gaining extra work experience and training. 

Recruitment is by interview and then a period of supervised activity for 3 months.  Training in general skills (Health and Safety and First Aid), in social skills   (time-keeping, group working, team meetings, conversation) and in technical skills (horticulture, specific equipment) is carried out mostly on site.   Solstice staff are qualified as both assessors and verifiers. 

On-going support is provided through regular review meetings and the creation of personal development plans.  Participants are guided and encouraged to seek open employment as their skills and confidence increase. 

Overall, Solstice provides training and experience, along with core skills which are valuable in all lines of employment, their social skills and confidence has been enhanced, time keeping, team working as well as more specific horticulture training and experience provide them with the personal tools to overcome their issues. 


The outcome is individuals are ready to take further steps into education, employment and/or voluntary work.  Sometimes they discover that they are not ready and require further input or more time working with us.   

Solstice may refer participants back to the local councils’  Employment Workers to seek other employment. We also provide internal support to re-enter education or seek other employment. Solstice will also encourage participants to apply for staff positions within Solstice. 

The anticipated outcome is that Participants are ready to take further steps into education, employment or voluntary work equipped with new skills and confidence.

What we can offer you as a participant:

  • A Personal Plan to support individual needs

  • Regular reviews setting achievable goals

  • An opportunity to work and learn in a supportive non-threatening environment

  • People who understand and will assist you to achieve your potential

  • Skills and experience to take with you

  • Assistance in developing confidence to take full advantage of all opportunities in life

  • Encouragement to have a healthy lifestyle 

What our participants say

 “Because I was part of Solstice at the beginning I have so many memories of hard, but mainly good and life changing moments. I grew because of the experience of the staff that helped me head out to a career of a wide diversity. Things have worked out beyond my wildest dreams. So once again thank you all.” (former participant)