Hire workers for agriculture, forestry and fishing

Get help and information to hire people in this industry.

On this page:

Filling jobs in the industry

Get advice and recruitment tips on Workforce Australia. Workforce Australia for Business can help you fill your vacancies for free. Registered businesses can:

  • advertise, find and shortlist people
  • use our tools to reach thousands of people
  • get information and resources to support your business.

Harvest Trail Services connect workers with businesses in harvest areas across Australia. Harvest Trail Services Providers offer free services for businesses and can help you:

  • place a job ad on your behalf
  • give advice on workforce planning
  • help with the recruitment process
  • screen people for the advertised role
  • connect you with people in your area available for an immediate or future start
  • get workforce for seasonal harvest jobs.

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme allows eligible Australian employers to hire workers from nine Pacific islands and Timor-Leste. This is intended for when there are not enough Australian workers available. Eligible businesses can recruit unskilled, low skilled and semi-skilled workers for seasonal jobs for up to nine months, or for one or four years.

The scheme helps to fill labour gaps in rural and regional Australia. Businesses can access a pool of reliable, productive workers. It also allows Pacific and Timor-Leste workers to:

  • take up jobs in Australia
  • develop their skills
  • send income home.

AgCAREERSTART is a program which allows young Australians to work on a farm for 10-12 months. Businesses can share their skills, knowledge, and industry insights as a farm host. All types of farms are welcome to take part.

When you sign up you will:

  • receive free farm-safe training
  • receive a $2,000 grant
  • get industry support to train and mentor.

Apprenticeships

An Australian Apprenticeship is a learning pathway that combines paid on-the-job training and formal study with a registered training organisation.

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers give advice and help with recruiting, training, and support to retain apprentices. They will:

  • help you find an apprentice and a registered training organisation
  • facilitate completion of a training contract to register the apprenticeship
  • assess your eligibility for incentives
  • assist you to claim incentives
  • help you work out timing and location of off-the-job-training
  • provide advice
  • support you during the apprenticeship.

Wages for apprentices depend on many factors including:

  • age of the apprentice
  • year of training
  • type of qualification
  • industry or occupation.

Visit the Australian Apprenticeships and the Australian Apprenticeships Pathways websites for help to hire an apprentice or trainee.

Tips for hiring an entry level worker

If you are hiring for an entry level role you may want to:

  • Welcome talent from other industries. Don’t be afraid to hire a person who hasn’t worked in the industry before. Staff in other industries may also be looking for a change and be eager to try something new.
  • Don’t be afraid of inexperience. Some applicants may not have much experience but do have a willingness to learn. For these applicants, look at what skills they have and what attitude they present. At an interview, try to adjust the questions you ask to help them communicate their skills.
  • Highlight career opportunities. If you want to attract staff, make sure you promote realistic career opportunities in your job ads. State if you offer informal training, on the job training or formal training with attainment of a qualification.
  • Highlight your values. If you want to attract younger workers, show your commitment to sustainable practices.
  • Consider taking on an apprentice or trainee. You can employ an Australian apprentice to train and develop their skills in the industry. You may be eligible to receive incentives for hiring an apprentice.
  • If you have your own website. Be sure to include job descriptions for roles that you need to fill.

Workforce management and planning

Workforce Australia for Business can help with workforce planning and management.

You can work with us to develop workforce solutions suitable for your business, your local area, or your industry. We can help with larger recruitment needs and access to local initiatives and supports. We can help you improve diversity in your workforce.

  • Employer Liaison Officers work with industry peaks and large businesses to codesign projects and help priority industries find the staff they need.
  • Local Jobs program help businesses by providing local solutions to find people with the skills they need.
  • Launch into Work supports the delivery of pre-employment projects and prepares individuals for entry level roles within a business.

Watch the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry case studies videos. These provide practical support to employers in the horticulture industry.

Skills Insights is one of ten Industry Jobs and Skills Councils. They collaborate with industry partners to work on projects, predict and meet the skills needed for jobs now and in the future. They also address challenges in the workforce.

More information

  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website has an agriculture information network.
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman website can help you stay up to date with workplace law changes.
  • The Australian Government Business website provides support for businesses in Australia.
  • Some states and territories have resources available to increase your workforce. Local governments may supply services to support the industry. There may be assistance programs, grants, and funding available. You can use the grants and programs finder tool to find what might be available to you when hiring staff.
  • The Safe Work Australia website has advice and resources on work health and safety.