Pick fruit and vegies: land a job right now

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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:

  • reliable
  • punctual
  • flexible
  • trustworthy
  • hardworking

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.

search tool for harvest jobs

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.

woman picking raspberries

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.

Man sitting on ground in fields

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

 

 

11 comments

  1. Hi
    I’m finding anykind of job to sustain in Adelaide. I’m Master of Science in Microbiology and have more than 4 years of experience in Agricultural research. Moreover, I’ve 489 visa nominated for Agricultural Technician by South Australia government. But I didn’t get any job yet. Kindly provide me any suggestions.
    Looking for your guidance.

    Thanks & Regards
    Kanika Sharma

    1. Hi Kanika. A lot of feedback we get from people in your situation, as well as employers, is that the lack of Australian work experience is a barrier to getting a job. I am not sure if this applies to you? Is there any way you can connect with groups, associations or societies that represent your field of work to see if there are any opportunities for you to get Australian experience? You could also approach universities to see if they need any research assistance? I appreciate it must be frustrating, given the time you have put into study and work in your field. I wish you the best.

      1. “Wish you the best” is all you can do, and wishing won’t make it so.

        Why don’t you just tell “Kanika Sharma” the truth, what I found out only after having been forced to study Law myself, so as to represent myself in court — that Australian law is left behind in the Dark Ages, that Australia is the only Western developed democracy that doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, and has never made international human rights law part its own (internal) law … and so a racist society is free to exclude people based on race/ethnicity/whatever … Just tell the truth, so that people are aware of the iron railings that will keep them out, even if they spend their lives pouring an ocean of job applications on certain jobs reserved for people of the “right” category.

        Oh, of course this post is awaiting “moderation” — meaning it will never see the light of any screen, so people like Kanika Sharma will waste their lives training for, and applying for, jobs they’ll never get. Just look around Australian society today — the proportion various categories of people is not reflected in the various categories of people in the workforce. Compare this with, for example, the USA (the country so many people hate).

        Just tell the truth, Miss Melissa, or this blog will lose its credibility — as it already has with me.

  2. Hi Melissa, I was working in harvest last season and I am happy for it but I now want to improve my skills in agriculture sector like quality control in line process or something referent production or packing maybe some short capacitations but I could not find that, now I am living in tasmania and I have had searching in Tafe and another place without lucky, if you have some information I will be happy to know it.
    Best regards and sorry for my bad english,
    Good vibes

    1. Hi Marianela. If you are connected with an employment services provider, you can talk to them about options to get Accredited Training or Non-Accredited Training via the Employment Fund.

      If not, you could talk directly to employers near you about your options. If you have a good attitude and a willingness to learn, many employers are willing to invest time in on the job training which will help you build the skills you want.

      You can also talk to the people at the National Harvest Labour Information Service on 1800 062 332. It’s a free call. The might be able to give you helpful advice.

      Cheers
      Melissa

      1. I Jethro Tara from Papua New Guinea,here by express my desire to come and work over there at Aussie as mentioned above since Aussie is my dream place to visit.
        I pledge to abide to the constitution Aussie requires of me due go my Humble respect of this great Country.
        Please it is my heart Iam revealing to whoever that is responsible to get me over there to work.
        Kind Regards
        God Bless Australia

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