The innovative new pilot program AgFood Connect has engaged its first two candidates in full-time employment, securing local labour and accessing wage incentives to lower the cost of employment for the business.

Located in Queensland’s South Burnett region, Clovely Estate first engaged the candidates as interns in July.

The four-week internship allowed the business to determine if the young men would be the right fit and included a $1000 incentive per candidate to cover any costs associated with the trial.

Prior to their employment with Clovely Estate, candidates Kevin and Jacob had little to no job security and had experienced long periods of unemployment.

“The last time I had proper work was in an abattoir when I was 17, and I am 22 years of age now,” Jacob said.

Through the program, Kevin and Jacob have now secured local, stable employment.

“We now have full-time work that is ongoing and guaranteed. We are learning new skills and have the opportunity to study a Certificate III in Horticulture,” Kevin said.

AgFood Connect is a collaboration between DGT Employment and Training, Growcom, and Golden West Apprenticeships. The program assists employers in placing quality, skilled young people in regional jobs, with the primary goal of building a sustainable workforce across agribusiness supply chains.

Growcom Business Engagement Coordinator, Blair Brown said AgFood Connect leverages DGT’s employment and training expertise to deliver businesses a skilled workforce and suitable candidates who can hit the ground running.

“The program helps businesses by performing screening and recruitment processes and ensuring potential recruits have the right skills for a particular job,” Mr Brown said.

Growcom proved influential in the success of the placements at Clovely Estate, ensuring the best possible outcome for the business.

The innovation of the AgFood Connect program is that it aims is to create a full-time position across two or more grower farms in an aggregate workforce model.

The program is being delivered from southern Queensland to Bundaberg, for a full list of regions visit the AgFood Connect website (www.agfoodconnect.com.au).

Is your workforce seasonal? Would you like to try and reduce your training, induction, and employment costs? Are you having labour challenges? We want to hear from you.

For more information visit www.agfoodconnect.com.au or contact Blair Brown on 0456 639 098 or email bbrown@growcom.com.au

AgFood Connect is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment through the Youth Jobs PaTH Industry Pilot Initiative.