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Finding seasonal labour

Regardless of whether you recruit directly or through an agency, it’s important that you are attracting the right people, and that when you find them they want to stay with you

Recruitment agencies

A number of labour providers are recruiting seasonal workers for the upcoming season to help to fill any staff shortages, including:

If you are a recruiter and would like to be added onto this list, please email us to let us know at COVID19.FAQs@ahdb.org.uk

In Scotland, NFUS has created an inventory of farms who are looking for staff. If you are a farm business looking for staff, visit the NFUS labour requirement web page for more information.

If you don’t already use a labour provider, consider getting in touch with the Association of Labour Providers (ALP) for advice. It has a dedicated coronavirus support page, including a spare worker availability portal (SWAP).

To find out more information about using recruitment agencies and labour providers, you can also watch these two 30-minute webinars run by the ALP in 2019, on getting the most out of labour providers and top tips for effective recruitment.

 

What legal obligations do you need to be aware of when using labour providers?

Before using a labour provider, it’s important to check that they are licensed. It is a criminal offence to supply labour without a licence or use an unlicensed labour provider. The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has an online public register where you can check to see if your provider has a current GLAA licence. 

Read more in our discussion with the CEO of GLAA in Summer 2018

Do you still have unfilled roles?

If you are using labour providers and haven’t yet recruited the numbers you need, think about posting links to their websites in local community groups on social media. Finding local workers, where possible, would also reduce the reliance on accommodation required.


Direct recruitment

If you recruit independently, consider advertising any opportunities for work on local social media groups or in your local shop. Community groups on Facebook are great ways to link up with individuals who are currently out of work in the local area so would not need to worry about travel or accommodation.

Think about producing a quick video to post on social media to advertise your business and the opportunities available. This only needs to be short and informally filmed on your phone but could include:

  • Business name and location
  • The crops that you grow
  • The roles available
  • Time of the year that you need workers for
  • Hours per week
  • Any additional benefits
  • Details on how people should apply

A video would be a great way to appeal to an individual with no prior knowledge of horticulture and introduce them to the sort of work they could be doing. 

Do you have a local college who could email their students on your behalf? Any local land-based businesses who are suddenly not able to operate? Think about local opportunities to promote the vacancies you have and ask them to share your video too!

Read the following news stories for more tips on how to attract and retain the right employees for your business:

Once you have attracted the fruit pickers, packers and field operatives your business needs, the next stage is to ensure you're ready for their induction, as first impressions count! Find out more:

Preparing your induction process

Further resources

Explore the Pick for Britain website for more on finding work and recruiting on UK fruit and veg farms.

Pick For Britain helps bring workers and employers together and ensures the UK can continue to deliver the best quality British fruit and veg for everyone to enjoy.

The website lists recruiters in your local area, from individual fruit and veg farms to national recruitment agencies which have job opportunities across the country.

Visit the Pick for Britain website