After several years of rapidly expanding the cattle business Hewitt Cattle Australia (HCA) is now focused on building stability in their workforce.
The recent purchase of two large aggregations in the Northern Territory, plus the acquisition of numerous properties across Queensland over the past two and half years, has the emerging large cattle producer concentrating on building a skilled and sustainable workforce.
Currently employing around 50 full time workers across its cattle operation, including on-property and administrative staff, HCA has identified the importance of employee development.
To achieve this goal, HCA has commenced an annual employee training and networking event at its centrally located property to the entire HCA business, Pegunny, west of Moura in central Queensland.
“The cattle business has certainly gone through some rapid expansion, but really the growth and management of that growth is secondary to investing in the people working in the business,” HCA director Mick Hewitt said.
“By investing in the people working in our business we think the return is huge.”
Staying focused on being a good cattle producer is what’s driven the recent success at Hewitt Cattle Australia, according to company director Mick Hewitt.
“It makes for a more efficient operation, it makes the people happier, and it also helps people work better together,” Mr Hewitt said about HCA’s annual staff development and networking event.
These simple and traditional values were clearly on display when Queensland Country Life visited HCA’s Pegunny training and staff skills event last week.
“Everyone working for HCA plays an important role in building the business’s success as a cattle producer,” Mr Hewitt said.
“The training and skill improvement is one important aspect for the staff, but just all getting together and meeting one another is also highly beneficial to the business.
“Fostering good quality interaction between staff drives great efficiency in the business.”
The annual training event focuses on the simple concept “if people know each other” and “have a strong set of skills”, than work is more enjoyable and people love doing a good job for themselves and the business.
“The fact we are able to invest in the people who work in the business makes me extremely proud, but also energises me and hopefully other people in the HCA business,” Mr Hewitt said.
“Our focus with this staff training and development is to give back and strive to continually become a better team that is exponentially more skilled by the end of the annual training event.”
It’s only the second year the HCA staff development and networking event has been held, but the Hewitt family plan to continue the concept in the future after receiving plenty of positive feedback from workers.
“I’ve had the pleasure of teaching welding and fabrication over the past couple of days and there is a lot of talent in our staff,” Mr Hewitt said.
“It’s important our business invests in our staff.”
Old hands find new way in expansion
The rapid expansion of Hewitt Cattle Australia has provided experienced cattle producers Tony and Sharyn Truelson an opportunity to fully utilize their skills.
The Truelson family manage the Hewitt’s Oakleigh aggregation of properties near Marlborough with three other full time staff.
“The opportunities are excellent working for a growing cattle business like Hewitt Cattle Australia,” Mr Truelson said.
“We worked for a private cattle property owner previously, which was good and we got a lot of good learning benefits.
“There’s definitely even more opportunity for us working for a larger scale cattle business like HCA that is really interested to invest in staff development as part of the overall business.”
Mr Truelson and his family are no strangers to the Marlborough area having managed another property in the region for 18 years.
“Deciding to take on managing a property aggregation for the Hewitt family has been a great decision and we enjoy continuing to live in the area with our children going to school in Marlborough,” he said.
Mr Truelson added it was daunting coming into a large family run cattle enterprise like Hewitt Cattle Australia, but the annual training and development event helped them network among all levels of staff in the business.
“I’m understanding more about managing the staff at the Oakleigh properties and we are also learning plenty ourselves.”
Great opportunity for young couple
Drover Ben Williamson and Georgie Newberry saw working for Hewitt Cattle Australia as the perfect opportunity to settle down.
After taking the HCA’s cattle on the road last year, the young couple were offered an opportunity to work on the Hewitt family’s blue ribbon central Queensland property aggregation, Pegunny and Anglestone, near Moura.
“I worked out early on the Hewitt family were very good to deal with and they are really interested in teaching you as one of their staff,” Mr Williamson said.
“We only started working with the Hewitt family at the start of this year and it’s been a great experience for us so far.”
Both Mr Williamson and Ms Newberry grew up near Glen Innes in New South Wales and have always had a passion for the cattle industry.
“I left school very young and went droving for Terry Hall and that’s what got me started in the cattle industry,” Mr Williamson said.
“Working on a property really suits us especially because we enjoy campdrafting and working our horses, so being able to combine our passion for horses with our work is always great.”
“I like riding my horses and working cattle so working on the Hewitt’s property really suits me and Ben really well,” Ms Newberry said.
“A great part is learning about all the new technology and how to fully use it in the correct way to make our jobs on-property and for the office people easier and more efficient.”