Grains Research and Development

Date: 09.11.2016

Communication key when working with backpackers

Author: Natalie Lee

GRDC Western Regional Panel member and grower Gemma Walker says a new GRDC Farm Business fact sheet – Employing seasonal farm labour for Western Australia’s grains industry - can assist growers in recruiting and successfully working with backpackers.

With the Western Australian grain harvest underway, many seasonal workers, or backpackers, are assisting growers during this high-intensity period on the farming calendar.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Western Regional Panel member Gemma Walker said attracting, training and retaining backpackers was a challenge that growers would continue to face.
 

“Technology has reduced the demand for labour on the land; however, there will always be a need for seasonal workers,” said Ms Walker, who employs backpackers on her own property at Munglinup in WA’s Esperance region.

“A new GRDC Farm Business fact sheet – Employing seasonal farm labour for Western Australia’s grains industry, – can assist growers in recruiting and successfully working with backpackers.”

Ms Walker said the resource included information about the Working Holiday visa scheme; identifying the right people; getting engagement right; inductions; and links to useful resources.

“The aim should be to successfully employ short-term seasonal staff year-in, year-out while keeping everyone’s stress levels low and productivity high,” she said.

“A vital tool is the development of an easily repeatable, simple orientation/induction process that continues beyond day one to ensure the new worker fully understands all instructions.

“Keeping communication simple and repetitive is important in dealing with language barriers, as even experienced foreign travellers can initially have trouble understanding our Australian accents, dialects and expressions.

“Communication is key to ensuring everyone stays happy and working towards the same goal.”

Employing seasonal farm labour for Western Australia’s grains industry is one of four WA-specific GRDC Farm Business fact sheets that have been recently released.

Others include Cost-effective investment in machinery , Business structures explained and Business structure: things you should know and questions to ask your adviser.

Growers and advisers keen to further enhance their knowledge and understanding of farm business issues can attend GRDC Farm Business Updates in WA in February, 2017.

These annual events provide a unique forum to learn from and network with leading industry professionals and will be held in Borden on February 6, Corrigin on February 7 and Mingenew on February 9. More information is available on the GRDC events page

Contact Details

For Interviews

Gemma Walker, GRDC western panel
0428 751 095
hamiltondowns@hotmail.com

Contact

Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
0427 189 827
natalie.lee@coxinall.com.au

GRDC Project Code ORM00017

Region West