UK growers with seasonal worker vacancies can utilise services offered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help attract and retain domestic workers.
Acting as a point of contact between businesses and the unemployed, the DWP will help identify candidates that have the right skills and attributes for the roles.
This ‘more targeted approach’ follows the Pick for Britain campaign last year, which many businesses said failed to attract the right calibre of workers.
Covid-19 restrictions as well as the introduction of a points based immigration system which came into force in January 2021, is already impacting on seasonal labour recruitment this year.
NFU vice-president, Tom Bradshaw, said it was important for businesses to advertise their vacancies and to engage with the DWP.
"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.”
Mr Bradshaw added promoting roles through these channels will enable the DWP to gather evidence on the scale of vacancies, and whether they were filled, which will become important as the season progresses and attention turns to long-term recruitment needs for 2022 and beyond.
Minister for Employment Mims Davies added: “Our country is bursting with fresh talent and DWP’s collaboration with the NFU will help jobseekers boost their skills and reap the benefits of experience in the agriculture sector.”