A labour shortage across Hawke’s Bay is causing major concerns for BOSTOCK New Zealand apple orchard managers.
The Hawke’s Bay grower and New Zealand’s largest exporter of organic apples, held its annual open day this morning to attract workers to ensure they can get the apples off their trees in time.
BOSTOCK New Zealand Orchard Operations Manager, Craig Treneman says they currently need over 200 people and are desperate to find labour.
“We work with WINZ, we advertise and the open day is all part of our attempts to attract workers before the apple harvest starts in just a few weeks.
“The key for us is getting New Zealanders into full time employment rather than just seasonal jobs and we are helping up-skill our seasonal staff to give them more opportunity. We are challenged by a labour shortage and there are just not enough Kiwi’s available to meet the peak season demand.”
BOSTOCK New Zealand also provides transport for any New Zealanders keen to work in its orchards.
“We are keen to work with people to ensure they have no barriers to employment. Drivers licenses are one of the biggest challenges, so we will do everything we can to help get people to work.”
About 60 people, including locals and tourists signed up to work for BOSTOCK New Zealand at the open day.
“We were hoping to attract more people as we have plenty of work, both seasonal and permanent jobs. This was the lowest turnout rate we have seen at an open day for five years,” said Mr Treneman.
Flaxmere woman Te Aroha Toa Toa was quick to sign up with BOSTOCK New Zealand, excited by the employment opportunity.
“I have been unemployed for some time, so the orchard work gives me the opportunity to get into some seasonal work which will hopefully flow into full time employment.”
Mrs Toa Toa says she has experience working in orchards but she doesn’t have a driver’s license so getting to and from work proves a challenge when applying for jobs.
“It’s great that BOSTOCK New Zealand can provide transport. It means I don’t have to stress about how I get to work.”
The big royal gala harvest starts at the end of February and the apples need to be picked in 20 days.
Mr Treneman says they will be picking seven days a week and are doing a big shout out to anyone keen to come and pick apples.