50 Barbadians to secure jobs in UK farm program
Come April, 50 Barbadians will be travelling to the United Kingdom for employment as part of the seasonal farm labour program.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Labour, Colin Jordan, during a press briefing. He disclosed to the media government has been in discussions for the last few months with Concordia UK and CJNM Consulting to finalize overseas employment opportunities for Barbadians.
The UK farm labour program, the first such partnership between Barbados and the UK, is similar to the Canadian Farm workers program which has a heavy concentration of Barbadian nationals, he noted.
“This opportunity is one we intend to take full advantage of. We see it as an opportunity for workers to earn a living … to be ambassadors to the country and to earn foreign exchange,” Minister Jordan said.
Concordia UK is a charity organization which works with the UK government recruiting workers to be employed in farms across the country. Those selected will be working on farms primarily in southern Scotland and England harvesting strawberries, cabbage and other crops.
Chief Executive of Concordia UK, Stephanie Maurel said the partnership with Barbados for recruitment of workers came as a result of a pilot launched by government to address labour shortages in the agricultural sector.
Maurel noted the interest in the UK’s agricultural sector has waned significantly, therefore government had no choice to source outside labour.
“Just under 18 months ago, the British government heard lobbying from the sector which said ‘we are desperately short of labour’. The British government started a seasonal worker agricultural pilot to allow two operators, Concordia is one of them, to recruit outside of the EU- that means we can recruit anywhere where we think we can find excellent partnerships for workers. And that is where this partnership with Barbados was born.”
She explained the UK government just this week increased the initial number of workers in the pilot program from 2,500 to 10,000 so there exists the possibility for more workers to be recruited.
Barbados is the only English-speaking country included in the UK farm labour pilot.