NT 'Sweetest Job' campaign could expand

NT Farmers hopes to replicate 'Sweetest Job' campaign

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The NT's idea to get locals for the mango season could extend to other crops.

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A RECRUITMENT campaign to sure up local workers for the Northern Territory's recent mango season was regarded as such a success, it could be replicated for other crops this year. 

During the 2018 harvest in the Litchfield area, NT residents gained employment with the help of The Sweetest Job Campaign.

The campaign consisted of a three-part pre-employment program where candidates were provided with information on the industry, jobs and tasks involved. 

The candidates underwent a mango farm induction and an on-farm trial. 

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A total of 116 NT residents applied. These were screened and shortlisted for 24 positions the farmers were seeking to fill. 

Twenty-four NT residents were employed for the duration of the mango harvest, with six who are still employed on farm.

Regional Development Australia Northern Territory (RDA NT) partnered with NT Farmers Association, the Northern Territory Government, Department of Trade, Business and Innovation (DTBI), Litchfield Council and Stones Throw Group (the recruitment agent) to deliver the idea.

RDA NT chief executive, Kate Peake, said the campaign increased the awareness of employment opportunities for local residents across the Top End mango harvest, and assisted growers engage a local workforce.

“The NT represents around 40 per cent of Australian mango production and is the Territory’s largest horticultural sector," Ms Peake said. 

"It’s worth more than $88 million to the NT economy and employs over 2500 people during the peak season in October and November."

NT Farmers president, Simon Smith, said it was a great outcome with employers' attitude towards employing locals positive. 

"Approximately six NT residents employed in ongoing roles within the horticulture industry," he said. 

One candidate who participated said the idea was great. 

"The Sweetest Job was packaged, it made it easy, it was conveniently located for me living rural," the candidate said. 

"I would recommend it. Thank you so much, I am very appreciative, I was trying to get a foot in the door of this industry after finishing school.

"I am enjoying it and would like to gain ongoing full-time employment in the industry.”

On the other end, a participating employer gave it similarly positive wraps. 

“We employed two people through The Sweetest Job campaign. It was an easy process and the people referred to us stayed for the entire pick," the employer said. 

"Thanks so much and we would definitely use the Sweetest Job again. Had two Australians, one local and one from Tasmania, although they didn’t have farm experience they worked very well, we were very pleased with them.”

NT Farmers thanked the partners in the project and said it was seeking sponsors to run the campaign on other commodities in 2019.

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