If you have no work experience, there is a way to get paid work straight away. There are thousands of jobs available right now picking fruit and vegetables. In fact, farmers can’t find enough people to work on their farms.
You’ll pick up some really great skills on the harvest trail. You can show that you are:
You’ll learn how to take direction and work without supervision. You can quickly progress as well. Many people who start picking fruit go on to oversee teams picking and packing fruit and vegetables.
It worked for Jolie and Julia. They started picking blueberries which led them to their dream jobs in aged care.
When the harvest season finishes in one place, you can move to another when a different fruit comes into season. Or you can use your new-found skills to impress an employer back home.
How do I get started?
Go to jobactive.gov.au and search ‘Harvest jobs’ or ‘Fruit picking’. You can also hit Search then choose the Vacancy Type Harvest jobs. It’s coming up to peak season and there are already over 1,600 positions online right now.
What do I wear?
Almost all harvest work is outside. This quote from a job ad sums it up. It is all outdoor work which can be very cold and wet, or hot, dry and dirty. You’ll need:
- Sturdy shoes.
- Long shirt and trousers to protect you from thorns, scratches and insects.
- Broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen.
- Plenty of water and food for the day, plus any sanitary items as you’re in fields away from facilities.
How do I get there?
If you stay on the farm, you can probably walk to work. If you stay off the farm, you’ll need your own way of getting there.
Where will I live when I pick fruit?
Sometimes you can stay on the farm and pay some money to cover facilities. Often this is shared accommodation. Lots of towns in harvest areas have hostels which give discount accommodation especially to harvest workers.
How much will I get paid?
You’ll be paid either by the hour or based on how much you pick. Hourly wages are covered by the Horticulture Award. Piece rates depend on the crop and what you do. Make sure you know what the piece rate is before you start and have it in writing. Most jobs ads will tell you exactly what the piece rate is.
Your adventure starts here
One of the best things about harvest work is the people you’ll meet. You’ll meet new friends from all over the world and right across Australia. You’ll get to share stories as you work. There’s a great sense of adventure as you see different parts of this great country. What’s even better, you’ll get paid to do it.
Images: iStock; author’s own photos