Primary production sector still needs workers

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An Ashburton-based recruitment company is looking for 40 people to work in a dairy processing plant in South Canterbury.
Agstaff, Canstaff and New Zealand Dairy Careers managing director Matt Jones said there were hundreds of jobs in the primary production sector that could be filled by those laid off because of Covid-19.
The need for workers had increased sharply since the implications of the virus had started to hit hard, he said.
‘‘The work does not stop. It’s ramped up as some of our clients in the primary production sector increase production to meet New Zealand’s needs. The cows still need to be milked and the crops must be picked,’’ Mr Jones said.
‘‘We have a client needing more than 40 people to start immediately in South Canterbury. Our local manufacturers are working hard to meet the local food production needs.
‘‘Across the sectors we service, we have hundreds of vacancies, so we’re calling out to all people who might be facing lay-offs as Covid-19 bites.
‘‘We have work all over New Zealand and want people to get in touch. We’ve got lots of vacancies and we can get people into work, many of them immediately.’’
Mr Jones works closely with Heartland Immigration and their advice for the dairy industry is to work hard to keep the workers they have.
Managing director Mary Noonan said the limitations around international travel meant many scheduled incoming arrivals, who were destined for the country’s dairy farms to help with the upcoming Gypsy Day move, might not be available.
‘‘There are a lot of people already here on work visas. The industry needs to ensure visas are renewed to keep experienced workers on our farms,’’ she said.
Mr Jones said there were more than 600 jobs available in the dairy industry alone at any one time and many were filled by international workers.
‘‘As these people may temporarily slow, we need local people who want work to come forward. There are many opportunities and we are in touch with hundreds of potential
employers.’’