20 April 2021
Collaborating to help with worker recruitment
THE NFU and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are working together to look at how best to support UK growers in attracting and retaining domestic workers, following the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and the introduction of a points based immigration system in January.
The NFU is encouraging businesses with seasonal worker vacancies to engage with DWP, who can act as a point of contact between businesses and the unemployed, and help identify candidates that have the right skills and attributes for the roles.
It is hoped a more targeted approach will minimise the recruitment challenges that arose during 2020 and ensure that jobseekers better understand the needs of the sector.
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said businesses should advertise vacancies on Find a Job and to engage with DWP, who will be able to assist employers with specific recruitment needs.
“Like other developed countries around the world, the UK horticulture sector has been reliant on overseas workers for decades,” he said. “But the UK’s new immigration policy means this cannot be the only source of labour and, increasingly so, domestic workers will be needed to fill vacancies and undertake opportunities.
“Building relationships with local Jobcentres is critical to this. Their teams have been briefed about the requirements of the sector and will be able to talk to growers about their recruitment needs and identify suitable workers in their area. They can also discuss options, such as short-term work trials, which come at no costs to the employer when bringing new people in.”
Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said there are a lot of jobseekers with relevant skills out there, and better collaboration with the NFU will help reap the benefits of their experience in the agriculture sector.
As the need for packers is also imminent, the NFU will also be looking to build links with DWP to help with targeted recruitment of workers for permanent as well as seasonal roles.