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School-leavers urged to pick a gap year

Posted: 10am 14 Jan 2021

School-leavers are being encouraged to take a “horticulture gap gear” to boost the seasonal work sector, which has been depleted by a lack of international fruit and vegetable pickers and other workers as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

With the nation’s fruit and vegetable growers struggling to find people willing to pick crops, the Federal Government launched the Harvest Trail Services trial to encourage Australians to fill the gap and prevent vital food going to waste.

Supporting growers

Longman MP Terry Young says the trial, co-ordinated in Queensland by GrowCom, supports school-leavers with training for work in the rural sector and to find jobs in the state’s harvest areas.

“The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring jobseekers in Longman can find work and to help growers meet their workforce needs,” Mr Young says.

Help to move

“We are also providing relocation assistance to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up agricultural work.”

The Harvest Trail Services, which have expanded into 16 regions, ensure major horticulture areas have access to the workers they need.

Five organisations are being funded under the $1 million trial to find new ways to encourage people to work in the horticulture sector and meet employer demand.

Training available

Mr Young says funding opportunities range from pre-employment projects, mentoring, training and engagement with school leavers to social media campaigns.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator Michaelia Cash says the trial will test different ways to promote harvest work to Australian jobseekers.

“We know growers are struggling to find the labour they need, which is why Harvest Trail Services is as important as ever,” Ms Cash says.

Relocation assistance is available to Australians who are not receiving income support and those with the right to work in Australia.

Those relocating may be eligible to receive up to $6000 if they are an Australian worker or $2000 if they are visa holders with general work rights in Australia, not restricted to an employer or a type of work.

Find more local employment news here.

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