Growers visit Ukrainian universities to maintain links with seasonal workers

A group of leading growers has visited Ukraine on a trip to maintain links with universities that provided seasonal workers before the expansion of the EU.

The trip was organised by the recently retired chief executive of Concordia (YSV) Christine Lumb. Concordia is a charity that provides young people with opportunities for international work experience.

Hayloft Plants director Derek Jarman said: "There is a labour-supply issue. Pre-EU enlargement we used labour from the old Soviet countries Ukraine and Belarus under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS). When the EU enlarged we got SAWS workers from Romania and Bulgaria. The problem as an industry is that, when the economy of Europe picks up and Poles return to Poland, growers will be faced with a potential shortage of labour.

"Concordia and HOPS have links with Ukrainian universities and were supplying 200 to 300 workers a year to the UK until two or three years ago. There are very few coming now because of UK political changes. We were in the Ukraine to tell them 'don't give up'. Concordia still has a scheme bringing in 20 students who spend half the time in a teaching environment and half earning money."

He added: "We're concerned for the future. There is no problem this year and for 2010 for labour but we had a problem three years ago with strawberries left to rot in the fields due to labour shortages. Agriculture and horticulture are the first to suffer because people don't want to work outside. At Hayloft we needed 12 to 16 seasonal workers but could only recruit one locally."

Jarman explained that it was important to maintain links with Ukrainian labour sources. He said: "SAWS brought in 15,000 to 20,000 people from outisde the EU, but in five years' time the eastern European economy may be stronger and they will go back. Then we will need workers from Ukraine again."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Dazzling display of new plants at Four Oaks Trade Show 2017

Dazzling display of new plants at Four Oaks Trade Show 2017

A wide range of first-time exhibitors and established names will showcase a wealth of new varieties at September's Four Oaks Trade Show, says Matthew Appleby.

Product and service showcase

Product and service showcase

Fresh solutions to production problems can be found among the array of products and services being introduced at the Four Oaks Trade Show, Sally Drury reports.

Four Oaks Trade Show 2017 - Exhibitor List

Comprehensive list of the exhibitors at this year's show and where to find them.


Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles