The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) has been working closely with HELP Employment and local growers in the Caboolture area to secure work in the horticulture sector for members of the Karen community.

The Karen, who originated from the region of Mongolia many centuries ago, are a large ethnic group or nationality within the country of Burma. Called Myanmar by the present ruling Junta, Burma in its pre-Second World War period was a wealthy country in Asian terms, “the rice-bowl of Asia”. Now it’s one of the world’s poorest countries.

The focus of the project is to secure ongoing work for those members of the Karen community who have the skills and experience to work on local farms. The majority of the Karen community have a background in farming and are well suited to the horticulture industry.

HELP Employment has engaged with the local Karen community leaders to assist with culture differences and support, they have also hired a Karen speaking consultant who can assist with inductions, on boarding and any day-to-day concerns from both the employee and employer, this will help reduce growers’ need to retain staff each season and offer great support for new workers.

QAWN has identified one of the main difficulties for growers is finding and retaining reliable local workers. In response, this project aims to provide opportunities for the growing Karen community to secure employment and to enhance their skills and employment options within the industry and become long term valued workers for many seasons to come.

The more growers who are willing to assist, the wider range of crop varieties will result in greater success for the overall project.

If there are any growers in the Caboolture area who would like to assist or would like more information, please contact me on 0499 833 868 or email


The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) is an industry-led rural jobs initiative funded by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.