Local Seasonal Workers Ready for Australia

Locals attending the Pre- Departure Training for Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) in Honiara.

IT has been a huge month for Solomon Islands’ participation in Australia’s labour mobility schemes. Over the last three weeks, over 100 workers have completed pre-departure preparations and are ready to start work in Australia.

Four more groups completed the preparation for the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) with a Pre- Departure Training on 9-10 May. The training provided 27 workers with detailed information about behaviour expectations and contractual matters, as well as information about Australian culture, laws and customs. Workers used the training as an opportunity to ask questions about important issues such as church life in Australia and how to seek support during their placement.

At the opening of the training, Mr George Tuti provided remarks on behalf of the Solomon Islands Labour Mobility Unit (LMU). Mr Tuti highlighted LMU’s zero tolerance policy on alcohol and emphasised workers’ roles as ambassadors for the country. Mr Tuti told the workers “yufala na best marketing tool blo ume – it’s your hard work that will give future work opportunities to your Solo brothers and sisters”.

Mr Tuti asked participants about their goals for participating in the popular labour scheme. Many said they planned to use the money to build a permanent house and pay school fees for their children. One worker told the group about his plans to save money to buy tools so he could start up a workshop for vehicles. Mr Tuti encouraged workers to focus on their goals and remember they are in Australia to work for their futures.

Ms Lou Ellerton from the Australian High Commission congratulated the workers. Ms Ellerton said “this is a brilliant opportunity for you to build the Solomon Islands ‘Here to Work’ brand and earn money that can transform your future”. Ms Ellerton highlighted to workers the importance of making a positive impression with Australian farmers.

“I am so pleased to see ten returning workers and farms coming back to Solomon Islands again”.

Three workers will pick leafy greens for Boratto farm in Bacchus March in Victoria. Boratto started recruiting from Solomon Islands in 2017 and this will be the fourth cohort hired from Solomons.

MADEC has returned to Solomon Islands for the second year in a row, with six workers recruited to pick citrus on Fasolino farm in Wentworth, New South Wales.

Top of The Crops started recruiting from Solomon Islands this year and will place 12 workers at Sanco in Ayre in Queensland. This is the first time Solomon Islands workers will be at Sanco and the group will be led by returning worker Agnes.

The fourth group of six workers, will be working for returning employer Mt Almah in Far North Queensland picking vegetables.

The workers will travel to Australia in coming weeks and will receive an on-farm induction before commencing work.