COVID-19 has led to unprecedented labour market disruption with resulting border closures remaining the highest concern for farmers struggling to retain and recruit critical workers during harvest, with Queensland’s farmers already reporting $11 million of crop losses. With demand for casual labour expected to peak around March, and up to 26,000 jobs expected to go unfilled, there is a significant amount of work being done to find solutions, however, the industry is diverse and many job applicants are underprepared.
This challenge required new and innovative approaches for an ongoing workforce, so the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (RJSA) and FarmReady Hub, have launched a comprehensive online accreditation program for jobseekers looking to enter the Australian agriculture sector. The Pre-Induction Micro-Credential Program, which is supported and funded by the Queensland Government, allows prospective agriculture employees to obtain a FarmReady Card that prepares them for work on farm and opens career pathways to all the employment opportunities across Queensland’s agriculture sector.
FarmReady Hub is designed to take the guesswork out of farm work by ensuring new employees arriving at the farm gate are correctly prepared for an agricultural job with an understanding of specific rural workplace health and safety and biosecurity requirements. The program offers a Skills Passport for jobseekers to include their licence details, permits, letters of offer, and other qualifications thereby allowing farmers to satisfy the necessary employment administrative requirements. FarmReady also benefits farmers by simplifying the business hiring process and streamlines the transfer of information from workers to farmers, employment agencies and contractors.
With harvest for several industries continuing, growers are encouraging working holiday makers and Australians to consider employment in the agriculture sector. The FarmReady Hub accreditation program is a vital tool in ensuring that agriculture has a resourced, fit for purpose workforce that is responsive to technological advances and will immediately contribute to the productivity of the sector. Find more information and register to undertake the FarmReady accreditation: www.farmreadyhub.com.