Ben HaywardJune 17th

As you’ve probably realised, the coronavirus pandemic has had some incredibly profound effects on most aspects of student life –with opportunities for part-time work taking a hard hit.

In fact, 87% of students who work alongside their studies have reported that their income has been affected, and with many relying on part-time or summer jobs in the hospitality sector to keep things ticking over, young people are now having to look at different types of work.

So, if you were planning on taking up a job this summer in a bar, cafe, restaurant, cinema or gym, it may be time for a rethink…

Pick for Britain is encouraging students to apply for jobs on farms throughout the fruit & veg picking season to help fill any shortages of farm workers caused by Coronavirus restrictions.

If you’re fit, healthy and looking for some temporary work this summer, then a fruit and veg picking job is a great way to get outdoors, meet new people and earn money, while helping to feed the nation.

Madeline Owen, a Year 12 student from Essex, decided to get involved after her AS level exams were cancelled. “I wanted something to do,” she said. “I needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning and something to do during the day so I got a job at New Moor Farm.”

With the summer months stretching ahead, there are loads of benefits of taking up work on a farm. You’ll get work experience while actually earning money, meet new people, get out of the house into the fresh air of the countryside and improve your fitness as it’s pretty physical work!

“It’s nothing like I’ve ever done,” says Madeline. “I’ve worked in restaurants, bars, cafes, all that, but nothing ever like this. Even things like I’ve learnt how to sharpen a pair of secateurs – it took me a while but I got there in the end!”

On top of all that, it’s a great opportunity to build up your CV. You’ll gain loads of new and transferrable skills like teamwork social skills, and a strong work ethic – plus it’ll look great to potential employers as it shows you’re proactive in seeking alternative employment, and willing to get stuck in to help out your local community.

So, what does the work actually involve? Well, Madeline talked us through a typical day on the farm.

“You get here for 6 in the morning,” she said. “After picking two fields we have a 15 minute break. When it’s cold and the produce doesn’t grow so quickly we do half days, but when it’s sunny we pick fields after lunch as well.”

It’s worth remembering that roles will vary from farm to farm, but they do mostly involve early starts! And although it’s by no means easy work, it’s highly rewarding and you’ll be helping immensely in the national effort.

And if you’re still not quite sure about whether it’s for you, Madeline had this to say: “Definitely do it - 100% definitely do it. It’s a great way to get out, I’ve met so many people that have all got stories and different things to tell me that I’ve learnt from and it’s definitely worth it, its good fun.”

If you think a bit of seasonal farm work is just what you need, visit the Pick for Britain website for more information and to apply for jobs:

There's a lot of interest in this work at the moment and some farms have already filled their vacancies, but roles will continue to be added throughout the summer, so keep an eye out! 

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