New champion seeks answers to horticulture's workforce dilemma
Recruitment and retention issues continue to threaten businesses - helping to secure supplies of British fruit and vegetables by attracting the right staff is the task the South East's new Horticultural Workforce Champion has been set.
Dr Alan Rae will use £20,000 of funding from the South East England Development Agency to identify the labour challenges facing growers in the region; develop best practice case studies and suggest solutions. He is looking for growers to share their experiences of securing and retaining reliable workers.
Alan is uniquely placed to be the Horticultural Workforce Champion. After a doctorate in plant biochemistry, he has spent most of his working life delivering IT and market research solutions for businesses. After growing vegetables on a Shropshire smallholding, he and his wife Isobel moved to a nursery at Fletching in West Sussex. From the site's three acres of glasshouses the couple supply organic vegetables as "Fletching Glasshouses" to local shops and box schemes and mail order ornamentals, citrus and chili plants under the Plants4Presents name.
"I aim to bring my experience and knowledge to the labour problem facing horticultural growers of all sizes," says Alan.
"There are fewer migrant workers than in the past and motivating local workers is difficult. The problem is set to get worse as the UK seeks to become more self-sufficient in the supply of fruit and vegetables."
He believes painful past experiences of failing to attract or retain suitable local workers have affected some growers, while a reluctance to take on what is perceived as difficult, seasonal and poorly paid work has put off potential employees.
"Meanwhile, retail demands for consistent supplies increases the pressure to find reliable workers."
Alan will be seeking the views of horticulture industry leaders and growers and is particularly after examples of good labour and career development.
"I want to gather and present best practice examples so growers can learn from each other how to develop successful practices in their businesses," says Alan.
The Farming Champions scheme is operated by the South East's Sustainable Food and Farming Strategy Board. Its chairman is Shaun Leavey. He says this of the appointment of the Horticultural Workforce Champion:
"Alan Rae comes at this important project from the perspective of a glasshouse grower and also someone with the necessary professional skills to collate and analyse information from other growers. In my view the region's horticultural sector is vulnerable to fluctuations in the availability and quality of both migrant and local labour. This project seeks to identify management techniques which will minimise those risks."
CLA Member Login
Have a problem - need advice?
Contact the regional office - the sooner you call, the sooner we may be able to help.
South East Office
South East Office
Isle of Wight Office
Join the CLA today
The CLA Game Fair 2013
CLA Events in your area
To receive our regular email newsletter containing advice and the latest news affecting the region - contact the office or send your email address and membership number to email@example.com
© 2013 Country Land and Business Association Limited (CLA). All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature without prior written permission of the copyright holder except as expressly permitted by law.
No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action in reliance on or as a result of the material included in or omitted in this website can be or is accepted by the author(s), the CLA or its officers or trustees or employees or any other persons.
The Advisory Services are made available to members on the basis that members' rights to compensation and the liability (if any) of CLA and its officers and/or its staff advisers, are restricted in the following ways. In the event of any advice given by any CLA staff adviser being given negligently or otherwise being incorrect no liability whatsoever is accepted by the CLA or its officers or by its staff advisers concerned
(a) towards any person who is not the current CLA member to whom the advice was directly given,
(b) to any person in the respect of consequential loss or loss of profits, or
(c) to any person for any sum exceeding £50,000 in respect of any one enquiry (whether made or responded to orally or in writing and whether dealt with at one time or over a period of time).
Any person making use of the Advisory Services accepts such restrictions. Members should refer to appropriate professional advisers in private practice before taking any particular course of action potentially or actually involving any substantial amounts of money.
Please note that whilst the advisers are able to advise on a wide range of subjects relating to land ownership, they cannot act in place of a member's own solicitor, accountant, surveyor and tax specialist by, for example, drafting documents or corresponding on their behalf and may be precluded, by the rules of their own professions, from advising one CLA member against another CLA member in the case of conflict.
Solicitors Indemnity Fund . Solicitors in the CLA Legal Team are not covered by the Solicitors Indemnity Fund in relation to professional negligence in relation to any advice given by them.
Please note that from time to time telephone calls maybe recorded for training purposes.