JOBS? Recruitment agency says work is available
UNEXPECTED and extraordinary employment opportunities in the agricultural industry have emerged during the COVID-19 crisis.
Darren Basford from Food Industry People Group, a recruitment and workforce management company, said the demand for workers across the Darling Downs region was high.
“Farmers in the area have been suffering from the lack of traditional foreign workers,” Mr Basford said.
“The majority of them have returned to their home country and none will be able to come back in the foreseeable future.”
As farmers across the area are in the midst of their harvest seasons, Mr Basford said multiple job opportunities were available.
“We have had a number of growers contact us to help them find workers as quickly as they can, especially in Stanthorpe as of late,” he said.
It is expected as many as 1 million people will lose their jobs in coming months due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Mr Basford said there would be more than 500 fruit picking jobs up for grabs across Queensland for up to six months of work, starting in May.
“This is an opportunity for people who have lost their jobs to earn a good income and support local economies,” he said.
“We specialise in recruitment into a large pool of workers for our clients and place at least 100 people in work in any normal week.
“Between now and June we have over 1500 jobs to fill.”
As seasonal work is about to begin, he said there was a higher demand than ever before for local labour due to the recent closure of the Queensland border.
“We also urge those producers who are looking for workers to get in touch with us now,” Mr Basford said.
“Our job seekers are matched with our clients’ permanent and casual worker needs.”
But Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrier doesn’t believe there are many fruit picking jobs going in the region.
“If anything, Stanthorpe is on the wind down from the end of the autumn season,” Mr Ferrier said.
“The apple season is over halfway and the strawberry season is winding down.
“Maybe farmers in Bundaberg and places like that (need workers), but definitely not Stanthorpe.”
As for the farmers in our region who are hiring, he said they would be very sceptical as to who they chose to employ.
“Most producers who are producing will be very wary of any new workers because of their travel history,” he said.
“They don’t know where they have been and who they have been in contact with.”