Pick­ing finest bunch

Farm­work card aims to high­light ready-to-go work­ers

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Ali Kuchel [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

AN ON­LINE hub de­signed to bring po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers up to speed could save grow­ers time and money when hir­ing fu­ture work­ers.

Based on the pre­vi­ous Farm­ready Hub, Lock­yer Val­ley grower and busi­ness­woman Janne Dip­ple has im­proved the ser­vice with the aim to boost tourism and hor­ti­cul­ture across the re­gion.

The pro­gram also aims to pro­vide farm­ing job seek­ers with ev­ery­thing they need to know to work on a farm, with a Farm­ready Card.

Mrs Dip­ple said more of­ten than not, work­ers would show up on their first day with in­ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing, footwear and food, with many not re­turn­ing to the field af­ter morn­ing tea.

“You might em­ploy 20 peo­ple one morn­ing, and three might stick at the job – but you’ve still got all that pa­per­work whether they’re there for 10 min­utes or 10 years,” she said.

“That’s why many farm­ers use con­trac­tors.”

The Farm­ready Hub was orig­i­nally launched in 2002 by the Lock­yer Val­ley Al­liance, but af­ter fund­ing ran out in 2005, the project went dor­mant.

Hav­ing worked on the project dur­ing its ini­tial start up writ­ing VET re­sources, Mrs Dip­ple de­cided to take on the project her­self, buy­ing the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty from the LVA.

She has taken the project on­line and tai­lored the train­ing to suit farm work in the Lock­yer Val­ley, launch­ing it four weeks ago.

Mrs Dip­ple said the chal­lenge for po­ten­tial farm work­ers was there was not a ded­i­cated directory for job seek­ers and called on farm­ers to get in touch to list their farms or con­trac­tors.

“There is no one place to go where there is a list of on-farm em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Lock­yer Val­ley,” she said.

“But I am build­ing an ex­clu­sive list for farm ready mem­bers.”

She said em­ploy­ers who chose work­ers with a Farm­ready Card would have a bet­ter chance of the em­ployee con­tin­u­ing, be­cause they al­ready un­der­stood what the job en­tailed.

In ad­di­tion, Mrs Dip­ple has aligned the Farm­ready Card with a unity of vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tional com­pe­tency.

“That can be a step­ping stone into up-skilling or train­ing, and help them with a fu­ture ca­reer in hor­ti­cul­ture,” she said.

With about eight to 10 po­ten­tial farm­work­ers sign­ing up to the hub ev­ery day, Mrs Dip­ple is call­ing on farm­ers to list their busi­nesses or con­trac­tors.

“I need farm­ers to help me help them,” she said.

■ Any­one want­ing to achieve their Farm­ready Card can join for $49 at www.farm­ready­hub.com and farm­ers want­ing to list their busi­ness can email Janne Dip­ple at [email protected]­ready hub.com.

❝one There is no place to go where there is a list of on-farm em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties...

— Janne Dip­ple

PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

GET­TING PRE­PARED: Ota Muris, from Indonesia, has been work­ing at Bare Es­sen­tials farm at More­ton Vale for 15 years. She is pic­tured with farm owner and Farm­ready Hub owner Janne Dip­ple.

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