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Government launches Pick for Britain campaign but concerns over labour remain

Defra has launched its Pick for Britain campaign as part of efforts to attract British workers to help harvest crops, but industry chiefs continue to raise concerns over severe labour shortages.

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Government launches Pick for Britain campaign but concerns over labour remain

It follows news that one firm, G’s Fresh, a national salad producer, spent £40,000 chartering a Titan Airways Airbus flight to bring in more than 150 Romanian workers to bridge the farm work gap.

 

The Pick for Britain website has gone live and offers information on how to apply to a number of recruiters on farms but Beverley Dickson, HR director at G’s, stressed picking was a ‘huge operation’, which needed the experience of skilled migrant workers.

 

Despite 500 UK-based seasonal workers recruited to help harvest salad crops starting in the final week of April, Ms Dickson said ’thousands more’ were now needed in May at the start of the spring onion harvest.

 


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She added: “The recruitment campaign has been successful but we need returning workers to train up and support the existing UK workforce.”

 

Trained

 

Taking to Twitter, NFU’s horticulture and potatoes board chairwoman Ali Capper echoed this and highlighted the demand for ‘large volumes’ of trained workers to address the shortfall mid May.

 

 

Priority

 

Responding, Home Grown has mounted a petition urging Government to commit to ensuring local people are given priority for all farm jobs, after claims members of the public had applied for seasonal work but were denied a position.

 

 

Shortages

 

But the Alliance of Ethical Labour Providers, Concordia and HOPS, reinforced that only 6,000 out of nearly 50,000 applications had opted for an interview.

 

And HOPS said only 9 per cent of applicants were suitable for jobs.

 

A spokesperson for Concordia said: "To date, 900 people have rejected the roles we have offered them and 112 have taken up the role on farm.

 

"But we are enthused to see so many people from the UK interested in working on farms and will continue to support growers through this challenging period."

 

Apply

  • To apply for local job vacancies on farm, Home Grown’s website can be found here.
  • The Pick for Britain website can also be found here.

 

 

 

 

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