Aileen has had a long and varied career in horticulture in WA, since arriving in Australia in late 1982 from New Zealand with an Honours Degree in Horticultural Science. Aileen started work at the Department of Agriculture in 1983.
In 1997, she took on the role of Horticulture Development Officer, working on a mix of projects across vegetables and strawberries. Her work with strawberries included agronomic research on strawberry production encompassing the assessment of new varieties, production under high tunnels and development of improved fertiliser and irrigation programs.
Then, after a roll out of redundancies and a reshuffle of the department, Aileen become the Activity Manager responsible for strawberry industry development. This included becoming the project manager for the WA strawberry improvement program for three years and the representative for WA on the National Strawberry Varietal Improvement Steering Committee (NSVISC), not to mention continuing to work on vegetable projects and maintaining numerous positions on panels and working groups involved with the development of horticulture and environmental initiatives in WA.
Her vast network of contacts and her technical knowledge are invaluable to the running of this project in Western Australia.
Helen joined the Department of Agriculture and Food (now Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development) in 2001 after completing a degree in Environmental Science. Her roles included land-use planning officer, WaterWise on the farm irrigation management trainer, citrus industry development officer, vegetable industry research and development officer, and communications manager.
Her interesting and varied career with the Department ended in 2015 when she decided to spend more time with her son before he started full-time school. She also took this opportunity to pursue her interest in landscape design, and completed the Certificate IV and Diploma of Landscape Design, while working part-time with a landscape designer and at Dawson’s Garden World in Forrestfield.
She started part-time work at South Metropolitan TAFE (Murdoch Campus) in 2018, delivering Diploma units to landscape design, horticulture and conservation and land management students. In 2019, this role expanded, and she now also teaches Certificate IV students about soil and its importance to horticulture, landscape design and the environment.
Helen is also currently engaged as the WA Citrus Industry Biosecurity Representative, a role which she will maintain. The project team and the Australian Berry Industry will have the added advantage of another IDO with expertise in state and national biosecurity activity.