NT Farmers, Melaleuca Australia and Charles Darwin University (CDU) are partnering together to provide training and employment opportunities to job seekers who have resettled in the Territory from The Democratic Republic of the Congo.
CDU’s Foundation Skills for Your Future played a significant role in training the workers and introducing them to working conditions in Australia. This training was funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) through the Foundation Skills for Your Future Program, which supports Australians who need help to improve their English language, reading, writing, maths or digital skills.
CDU's training was co-designed with Melaleuca Australia and consisted of workplace expectations and conditions as well as how to stay fit and hydrated while working on a mango farm.
CDU Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman said the University was proud to deliver a program of this kind that would provide job-ready workers to support the industry.
“We know how difficult it is for growers in the Territory to find seasonal workers to support their fruit picking and harvesting operations,” Professor Bowman said.
“This is a brilliant example of how collaboration can support our farmers in the Territory and train up job-ready participants with the right skills needed to get them into work quickly.
“The initiative is delivering employment and upskilling opportunities to job seekers while also providing our farmers with much-needed harvest workers.”
NT Farmers Association CEO Paul Burke said the workers had played an extremely important role in assisting local farms to harvest mangoes and get them off to markets.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an extreme shortage of harvest workers for the mango industry, NT Farmers and industry have developed unique solutions to help alleviate the workforce shortage," Mr Burke said.
"NT Farmers is extremely proud to be working with Melaleuca Australia to create opportunities for its clients.”
“Through this program, the workers are gaining valuable experience working in the Territory while also gaining exposure to the many opportunities available in the agricultural industry. Feedback from farmers on the program has been extremely positive with farmers praising the dedication and commitment of many of the harvest workers.”
Melaleuca Australia Chief Executive Officer Kwame Selormey said the initiative was enabling the participants to expand on their own skills and be able to contribute to the workforce.
“The opportunities that are being presented through the partnership are making a real difference in the community and inspiring others to put their hand up to be considered for similar farming work and support farming in the Territory,” Mr Selormey said.
“It enables new and emerging community members to achieve positive settlement outcomes such as; meeting new people to enhance civic participation, learning transferable employment readiness skills, practising and strengthening their conversational English skills as well as enhancing their financial independence.”
Acacia Hills Farm has been participating in the program for two years, farm manager Martina Matzner stated that it is a “wonderful initiative that helps build the confidence and skills of workers while assisting farmers with the mango harvest.”