How to get a harvest job
Harvest workers of all ages and skillsets are needed. Jobs include:
- fruit picking in the field
- preparing and packing the fruit in sheds to get it ready for distribution
- pruning and thinning fruit trees
- driving tractors, forklifts and other machinery.
Most jobs require skills that can be learned on the job. Some jobs require training, skills or licences – like driving, for example. Check what’s needed before you apply.
The work is rewarding but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require heavy lifting, bending, climbing ladders and operating machinery. The work is often outdoors.
Find the right job for you
Step 1: Do your research
Before applying for a job, read about the produce, harvest process, industry and where it’s located.
Search for information on horticulture industry websites and local government websites.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Working the harvest trail page has tips for job seekers and an employment checklist.
Ensure the job and employer are reputable before you apply.
Jobs are often listed by labour hire companies, which source workers for farmers. In Victoria, you can check if the company is a licensed labour hire provider on the Labour Hire Authority website.
Step 2: Enrol in some free training
Get job-ready by doing some training. Most of the training is quick and simple.
Being able to show on your job application that you’ve done some relevant training helps employers find the most suitable people for the work.
Information about free training opportunities is available on the Training for harvest work page.
Step 3: Download the Record My Hours app
The Record My Hours app can record your work hours. It can also help track the amount you pick, pack or prune (your piece) during a shift.
Find a harvest job now
Lots of harvest jobs are advertised on the Victorian Government’s Jobs Victoria online hub, which connects jobseekers to work across the state. Register on the Jobs Victoria online hub to find harvest jobs or call the Jobs Victoria hotline on 1300 208 575.
You can also find a harvest job by:
- searching the Australian Government’s National Harvest Trail jobs board
- contacting your nearest Skills and Jobs Centre, which can help you prepare your resume, search for jobs and access training and other support
- looking in local newspapers in regional Victoria and joining farm work groups on social media.
The below video outlines how you can match your skills to available work across Victoria.
Welcome to Working for Victoria, a free online recruitment platform developed by the Victorian Government to help you as employers find workers, fast.
What is Working for Victoria?
This platform can quickly and easily match employers with jobseekers who are ready and able to work in any sector or region across Victoria. There are thousands of jobseekers registered, with many of them indicating interest in working as labourers or in the Agricultural industry.
The median age of the jobseekers registered with Working for Victoria is 29, with 68 per cent of users with 68 per cent of users under 35.
The platform allows employers to easily register and manage their own opportunities, with the ability to categorise jobseekers by where they are willing to work.
This simple process allows employers to easily screen and contact jobseekers quickly as they apply, either shortlisting or passing on their application.
How can Working for Victoria support our seasonal workforce?
The Working for Victoria platform can complement your existing recruitment strategies to identify and engage jobseekers.
The platform is easy to use and can help to fill job opportunities in the agricultural sector fast, whether you need lots of workers or just one.
The platform can be used to offer long-term seasonal jobs or shorter, casual opportunities across Victoria.
It’s easy to navigate, allowing employers to update their own job opportunities and details according to their changing needs.
Support is also available from the Working for Victoria team to help employers maximise use of the platform and to access existing jobseekers interested in working in seasonal roles.
How has Working for Victoria supported the Victorian workforce this year?
The Working for Victoria platform is used by over 700 employers with thousands of skilled and unskilled job opportunities available.
This year the platform has helped to create a workforce to meet surge demands and meet workforce supply demand across both public and private sectors sectors.
We created a surge workforce earlier this year when over 1800 jobseekers were identified to transfer into local Community Service Officer roles and start engaging with community members across the state within a matter of days.
We filled these roles in partnership with labour hire companies often mobilizing significant numbers of jobseekers within a 24-hour period.
We also partnered with Coles to mobilise over 50 Jobseekers in targeted regions to meet emergency demands in produce distributions centres – making sure Victorians had food on their tables.
How do employers post jobs on the platform?
The Working for Victoria platform is easy to use and designed for employers to register and instantly post live job opportunities.
Registering is easy. You can register a user account on the website or contact us for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once an account is set up, employers can create job advertisements that can be targeted to jobseekers that are willing to work in specific towns, cities or regions across Victoria.
Jobseekers can also choose to see opportunities up to 250 kilometres away, as well as any region they have an interest to work in.
Employers can add screening questions – ensuring that they can recruit jobseekers with the skills that they need for their business.
You can also add up to fifteen questions to identify their skills including:
- working rights.
Once job advertisements are open, jobseekers can instantly see roles that match their preferred region and industry of interest.
Employers can regularly review applicants while their opportunities are still available, or hide jobs once demand is met.
What do Jobseekers see?
Registration is a simple process and can be done via the app or desktop.
Jobseekers register online and create a profile to showcase their experience and personal skills to employers.
Jobseekers can receive instant notifications on their phones when new job adverts are posted matching their locations preferences and their skills.
Jobseekers can express interest in opportunities and answer questions straight from the app on their phone.
Jobseekers receive simple instant messages to inform them of their progress for the opportunity, so they can be ready when an employer gets in touch.
What sort of agriculture training is available?
The platform also provides access to free online training units.
These short online training units are available for industries where jobs are available, such as agriculture and horticulture.
These three training units are available on the Working for Victoria platform.
- Introduction to work health and safety — food processing
- Introduction to work health and safety — meat processing
- Introduction to work health and safety processes — agriculture and horticulture.
Other training available includes:
- Horticulture farm worker induction program
- Pathways for people in dairy.
How do employers review candidates?
Reviewing candidates is easy. Applications, jobseeker responses and profiles can be reviewed on a mobile phone through the app or via desktop.
Employers can shortlist jobseekers or pass on their application.
Once the shortlisting is completed employers can access jobseekers contact details which can be exported to undertake the next step in recruitment.
Employers can review applicants on a rolling basis while their opportunities are still available or hide jobs once demand is met.
Complete opportunities and notify Jobseekers
Once you find appropriate candidates, you can finalise opportunities on the platform and choose to notify shortlisted jobseekers who were unsuccessful.
Completing your opportunities also helps Working for Victoria follow how many jobs employers have filled using our platform.
Employers can easily register their own user account at our website or contact us for further information at email@example.com
I hope you found that information valuable in assisting you finding you your new employees.
Pay and your work rights
Most seasonal horticulture workers are hired under the Australian Government’s Horticulture Award. The award outlines minimum hourly pay rates, piece rates and other entitlements like leave and overtime. The award also covers workers hired through labour hire providers.
The Fair Work Commission has determined a new minimum hourly wage guarantee for pieceworkers which came into effect in April 2022. For further details visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Find out where and when harvest is
Victoria's regions need workers at different times. Harvest workers often work on a number of farms during the season, following the harvest around the state.
Use the map and table below to plan where you could work this harvest season.
Sunraysia, Swan Hill
May – September
Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula
November – April
North East Victoria, Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley, Dandenongs, Sunraysia
November – January
Sunraysia, Werribee, East and West Gippsland
October – March
Swan Hill, Goulburn Valley
November – May
Apples and pears
Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley
January – May
Sunraysia, Swan Hill
January – May
January – April
December – April
Grain growing regions – harvest commencing in north and moving south
October – December
Largest sheep population in a band from Warrnambool to Wodonga
Peak: September – December