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Greater Shepparton City Council and Fruit Growers Victoria’s seasonal worker attraction campaign ‘Pick Shepp’ has received additional funding to expand across the Goulburn Valley.

The initiative was launched in December 2020 to attract more seasonal workers to the region in the wake of Covid-19 and now Fruit Growers Victoria has received further backing to increase its scope.

With A$500,000 from the Regional Recovery fund supported by Regional Development Victoria (RDV), Pick Shepp’ will be rebranded as ‘Pick Goulburn Valley (GV)’ and delivered throughout the wider region in partnership with Greater Shepparton City Council and Cobram and District Fruit Growers Association.

Greater Shepparton City Council mayor Kim O’Keeffe said there was a number of opportunities available in the region’s agriculture and horticultural industries.

“Picking is a great way to get your foot in the door, with opportunities for ongoing work, training and further career advancement. If a job seeker can pick fruit they are almost guaranteed ongoing farm work as they have proven their abilities and that they have the right aptitude for farm work,” O’Keeffe said.

“Fruit growers across the region did their best to navigate through the impacts of Covid-19 throughout the picking season this summer and this further funding will provide support in the lead up to next season.”

Pick Shepp saw close to 100 jobseekers provided with farm work and nearly 30 per cent of those continue to work on farms.

From the initial programme, 90 workers were mentored by field supervisors and this will be further developed for the 2022 season.

The grant money will see the campaign continue to attract seasonal workers as well as create a Horticultural Learning Portal to provide access to digital training services to reduce the time associated with recruiting, training and retaining staff.