Kahu Youth Trust, The Upper Clutha GSD Collective and CentralPac orchard are working together on an initiative that will see 100 young people into employment this summer, with Snapchat and Tiktok invitations sent out to the youth in the Upper Clutha to be part of a seasonal picking project.
Sarah Millwater, the driving force behind this project, which started before the government announced they would be opening borders to some seasonal workers, explains. “Businesses in the were in real danger of losing a significant part of their harvest this season and so with a lack of seasonal workers from overseas due to COVID-19 restrictions we quickly jumped on an initiative to get something done.”
Young people will be offered three or four days work a week at CentralPac, a cherry orchard near Cromwell. “They see great value in investing in youth for this project by offering training, great working conditions and good pay. They are always looking to the future and envisage this year’s cohort of 100 16-25 year olds will come back for more in the coming seasons. Some of them may even use this experience as a way of getting into the industry,” Sarah says.
While the group initially sought funding from MPI and other relevant organisations, this project was found not to align with their priorities and so they have set up a PledgeMe page to help provide the wrap-around support and admin for this project. “It’s a campaign offering rewards to locals and local business to get the funds needed to help with transport and the extra supervision needed to get the project up and running. We were mindful about not only supporting the orchard but also a locally owned bus company that is also missing out on revenue due to COVID-19.”
This project is a pilot project for a wider scheme which in future seasons may be able to engage younger youth and connect with more growers in the region. The group are committed to documenting video/audio/written feedback from the youth and the orchard and use that knowledge going forward for future seasons.
Applications will be open shortly for the youth to sign up via Snapchat and TikTok. “We really are keen for our young people to take the first steps in their application and have a sense of ownership and pride that not only are they gaining new skills, earning their own money but helping out a business in need and injecting a significant amount of money back into the local economy.”