Seasonal Workforce Industry Support Program delivers for our industry

Over recent years, the horticulture sector has found it increasingly challenging to consistently source labour for full time and seasonal employment

Adding to this are the challenges faced by many horticultural employers during the COVID pandemic.

A considerable positive of the pandemic has seen significant increased demand for horticulture products as a result of many people spending more time at home.

Which has exacerbated the labour shortage issue across the industry in the following ways:

  • Labour supply interruptions due to lockdowns
  • Labour supply interruptions due to isolation and quarantine requirements
  • Labour supply interruptions as a result of employees choosing not to comply with vaccination requirements
  • Reduced transient labour supply, typically made up of backpackers, students and other seasonal workers
  • Significant limitations in overseas and domestic travel and movement

 Program Aims

The Program aimed to help to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on seasonal labour during the harvest period, by supporting seasonal worker recruitment and retention activities, with Casey, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Shires being identified as suitable employment catchment areas.

Furthermore, the Program helped to overcome the barriers associated with the engagement of CALD communities. We have identified two communities to work with; the Khmer Cambodian and the Haka Chin Burmese communities. The program exposed under-represented groups to the horticultural industry providing them with meaningful work opportunities, whilst solving the shortage of seasonal workers.

 Program Actions

NGIV Industry Partner, Moshie Enterprise Coaching and Development, were engaged to develop Program materials and deliver a tailored course to introduce CALD communities to horticultural employment.

“In this moment our industry needs to entice people from all walks of life. We have so much to gain from embracing diversity across our teams and businesses. This program has helped to bridge the gap between prospective employees and employers, so both can thrive.” said Bruce Yelland of Moshie Enterprise Coaching and Development.

NGIV Industry Partner, Sidekicker, were engaged to undertake the recruitment, selection and placement process. They built a technology platform that the Seasonal Workforce to connect seasonal workers with businesses needing staff.

“With strong leadership, onboarding and training, this Program helped build long-term relationships with new workers, hopefully creating a strong talent pipeline of future horticulturalists,” said Penny Lee, Business Development Manager for Sidekicker.

NGIV, Moshie and Sidekicker, delivered three presentations to engage and support potential candidates into the horticultural workforce from the Khmer Cambodian and the Haka Chin Burmese communities.

Program Outcomes

Expressions of interest – over 100

Sidekicker registrations – 74

Candidates onboarded and available for employment – 51

Candidates currently working within NGIV Member businesses - 20


The NGIV were successful in their application for funding through Agriculture Victoria’s Seasonal Workforce Industry Support Program (SWISP). Set up to fund peak industry bodies and organisations to strengthen and boost Victoria’s seasonal horticulture workforce.