Published onApril 28 2020
Are you a farming or horticultural business which relies on bringing in extra labour at busy times? Or are you desperately seeking work on a farm or at a horticultural premises? If you fall into either category, the coronavirus pandemic and current lockdown regulations could seriously limit your chances of finding the match you need.
From AI technicians to sheep shearers and from farm contractors to fruit and vegetable pickers – almost every sector of Welsh agriculture and horticulture faces the risk of labour shortages as Covid 19 takes its toll on life and livelihoods in rural areas.
To meet this need, Lantra Wales has set up a new online bilingual skills matching service. Fully funded, the service, which can be accessed from Lantra’s website, will put businesses in direct touch with potential employees who have the relevant skills and experience they need.
Lantra staff will manually filter applications by matching up key skills of workers with those required by businesses, making it easy for both employers and employees to find appropriate matches.
Sarah Lewis, deputy director of Lantra Wales said today, “During the Covid 19 pandemic, it is vital that we ensure key rural and land-based businesses, particularly those with animal welfare obligations, are helped to access key workers in order to continue operating.
“Any member of a farming family or employee of the business who falls ill or has to self-isolate, could create a serious labour shortfall, which means many essential routine tasks could not be carried out.
“This could create serious animal health and welfare issues and have a detrimental effect on the business.”
The UK Government’s recent announcement that employees currently available through ‘furlough’ arrangements - which means they will at some stage be able to return to their ‘pre-pandemic’ posts - are free to work elsewhere in the interim period.
“This newly available workforce could be helpful to any businesses currently facing a labour shortage as there could be many unemployed and furloughed individuals; volunteer workers who are unable to operate and students not currently in education, all seeking work.”
There are two application forms on Lantra’s website, one for individuals looking for employment and another for businesses looking for labour.
“The application forms are straightforward and easy to complete, but if anyone does not have access to the online system, or needs assistance with completing the forms, they can receive guidance by calling the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813,” said Sarah.
All parties are asked to provide contact details, including home address, a telephone number and if they have one, an email contact and will be asked to tick a box consenting Lantra to process their information.
“Individuals looking for work will need to set out what skills set they have, what tasks they are prepared to do, if they are looking for part-time or full-time work, how far they are prepared to travel to find work and if they are willing to re-locate if accommodation can be provided.
“Businesses looking for additional labour will need to identify the skills set required to carry out the tasks, the number of hours of work required, remuneration and if any training is available.”
Once a form is completed and submitted, an email is automatically generated and sent to the applicant as confirmation of their online offer of work or application form. Both parties are notified if a potential match is made, at which stage they are asked if they are happy for their contact details to be forwarded as appropriate so that telephone interviews can be arranged.
The Wales Skills Matching Service is free to use and is not intended to operate like a recruitment consultancy. All parties matched will be required to adhere to the appropriate rules on social distancing within the workplace while these are in force. A link to the latest guidance from Public Health Wales will be included on Lantra’s Wales Skills Matching web page.
“This is Lantra’s way of helping our sector to meet skills gaps that may emerge during the ongoing crisis by helping connect those individuals who have the skills required to appropriate businesses in need of support at this challenging time.”
For further information on the new service, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01982 552646