Seasonal harvest training

Most harvest jobs require skills that can be learnt on the job, but training can help you get started.

Doing some training before you start a job is a great way to show employers that you’re ready to work. These free courses will show you the basics.

Seasonal workforce group traineeships in horticulture

The Seasonal Workforce Group Traineeships in Horticulture pilot program links students with training and on-the-job experience to build their skills and open new career pathways.

The program focusses on bolstering seasonal workforces across the state, while allowing students to complete formal qualifications to secure long-term skilled roles in horticulture.

Trainees engaged in the pilot will be able to gain a certificate III in Production Horticulture or related qualifications whilst gaining hands-on experience in horticulture businesses across the Sunraysia, Goulburn Valley and Gippsland regions. The pilot also supports and encourages businesses to develop training as a key element to building a sustainable, reliable workforce.

The new traineeships are coordinated by Apprenticeship Employment Network in collaboration with local group training organisations, TAFEs, horticulture businesses, local industry groups and Agriculture Victoria.

The collaborative program will build pathways to high-level skills and knowledge in areas such as operating machinery and farm infrastructure as well as supply chains, relationship management and digital platforms, all critical skills needed for the future of Victoria’s world-class horticulture industry.

For more information visit the Apprenticeship Employment Network website for links to local Group Training Organisations involved in the pilot.

Horticulture farm worker induction program

The Horticulture Farm Worker Induction Program can help get you job-ready for harvest work.

This free program is delivered by SuniTAFE with funding from the Victorian Government.

Warren Llyod, SuniTAFE Smart Farm:

Welcome to northwest Victoria. We're a major food producing area in Australia. Horticulture is very diverse by its nature. Whether we grow crops on trees or vines, or in the ground. Anything that uses water to produce high value. Let's hear from some industry experts.

Nathan Hancock:

I'm Nathan Hancock. I'm the CEO of Citrus Australia.

The citrus industry is a national industry. We have citrus growing in five states and the Northern Territory at about 27,000 hectares. In 2019, we exported 500,000 tonnes from a total of 750,000 tonnes produced. That's at a value of about $500 million.

The citrus industry has a range of different jobs. You can do seasonal work, which is more casual type of labour, picking and harvesting working in packing sheds. Or you can really invest in your career and become more of a farm manager, irrigation specialist, and really develop a set of skills that's transferable through the country but also internationally.

Anne Mansell:

I'm Anne Mansell, CEO with Dried Fruits Australia here in Mildura.

We're at the heart of the dried grape growing industry which extends from Swan Hill in Victoria, right through to the Riverland in South Australia. We have 300 growers growing on 4000 hectares and producing somewhere between 17 to 20,000 tonnes every year. We have great markets here in Australia but also overseas. Our product is the best quality product in the world for dried grapes.

There are a range of different activities that can be undertaken on a dried grape property. Pruning in winter and then in harvest in summer there's a lot of different support jobs, such as tractor, driving that are required.

Every day is a different day in the dried grape industry and it's a wonderful industry to be part of.

Neil Bennett:

Hi. I'm Neil Bennett. I'm an almond grower in the Mildura area.

We produce 65 per cent of the almonds grown in Australia of which totals about 100,000 tonnes. Sixty per cent of that goes overseas for export. Forty per cent is consumed here in Australia.

The almond industry is a good industry to be in. We have jobs ranging from irrigation, right through to harvest time. It's a good lifestyle. You're working outdoors. Friendly environment. So come and work for us.

Anthony Zappie:

Hello. I'm Anthony Zappie from Koala Grape Producers.

I grow table grapes in the Sunraysia region. In 2019, we exported over $500 million worth of exports. With 60 per cent of our produce going to export and 40 per cent of our produce going domestically.

We harvest from January to May, which is our peak labour season. And then we have a maintenance season that goes from the start of June to the end of August.

Dean Morpeth:

Hi. My name's Dean from Morpeth Farms and also the co-owner of Sharp Fruit.

We grow nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots. I'm a fourth generation farmer and it's been very exciting to see the changes and development in the horticulture industry over the years. Going forward, I'm very excited about where the horticulture industry is going.

We offer a range of jobs in the orchard and also in the packing facility where the technology is always developing and gives a wide range of opportunities for workers.

Tania Chapman, Sunwest Packing Facility:

Hi. Welcome to Sunwest Packing Facility here in northwest Victoria part of the Murray Valley region.

We produce around 20 per cent of our nation's citrus crop. Thirty per cent of the national crop is exported to any one of 52 countries around the world. And in the peak of our season the industry employs around 60,000 people.

Why wouldn't you want to be in this industry? It's a great place to be.

Training videos include Finding a job in the horticulture industry, Farm safety, Citrus farming, Stone fruit and The packing shed.

Access the Horticulture Farm Worker Induction Program training videos on the SuniTAFE website.

TAFE courses

TAFE offers several free courses for jobseekers, which can lead to a recognised qualification in agriculture. The courses can be started online. While tuition is free, students may need to pay for materials and student services fees.

The Free TAFE for lots of jobs website has a course list and eligibility requirements.

Page last updated: 28 Jul 2023