Search for seasonal workers spans the globe
The Farm Relief Service (FRS) is searching from northern Europe to the southern oceans for seasonal workers for the busy spring period on Irish farms.
While the service launched a recruitment drive spanning Munster, Leinster and Ulster to source 100 seasonal farm workers to meet demand from their farming customers this spring, it is also looking further afield.
FRS is currently interviewing potential candidates in New Zealand, and is also seeking to expand a partnership arrangement with a university in Lithuania.
FRS hired nine staff from New Zealand last spring, but is hoping to take on more for the coming year, and interviews are currently under way, said FRS Networks CEO Peter Byrne.
The service also hired four staff from an agricultural university in Lithuania last spring, and they hope to take more for the coming season. Mr Byrne said all applicants were being interviewed by FRS representatives to assess their proficiency in English, their farming experience and overall attitude.
FRS is also looking for local labour. The service is hoping to entice candidates by offering a mix of local work, flexible hours and competitive pay rates - along with the opportunity to earn €8,000 or more this spring.
The roles on offer include relief milking, calf rearing, dairy and general farm work.
There is training support available to upskill those who require it, through the FRS dairy operative skills programme, in conjunction with Teagasc, as well as on-farm mentoring.
"We are aiming the recruitment campaign at three specific categories of candidates, experienced dry stock farmers with spare capacity, young people looking for farm experience, and women looking for suitable local part-time work," Mr Byrne said.
There is a growing demand for labour in the dairy sector. The number of units with more than 100 cows has grown from 1,080 in 2005 to 4,260 in 2016, a lift of more than 3,000, Mr Byrne pointed out.
Many of these units will have a requirement for additional labour through the busy calving and calf-rearing season, Mr Byrne said.