A new recruitment initiative will aim to connect growers with ex-offenders in an innovative bid to address labour shortfalls within the country’s horticultural sector.
The Oswin Project, which supports ex-offenders in North East England by sourcing paid employment and apprenticeship opportunities, is working with the New Futures Network, to champion the idea that residents in category ’D’ prisons, and those recently released, be given the opportunity to ‘pick for Britain’.
Fiona Sample, CLA member and chief executive of the Oswin Project said: “Coming from a farming background, I am aware of the challenges facing us, in particular, accessing a labour force due to uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 and an end to the freedom of movement beginning in January of next year.
“This nation-wide initiative therefore presents a great opportunity to tap into a homegrown workforce, as ex-offenders and those contained within open prisons, are incredibly excited by the possibility of obtaining job security, accommodation and the chance to work outside in the fresh air.
“With an uncertain future ahead, this initiative could help to bridge the farmwork gap while also making a valuable contribution to peoples’ lives.”
CLA members are currently seeking farmers and landowners who would be interested in providing employment opportunities and details can be found, here.