Both the Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Antoine Ravo and Coordinator of RSE and SWP Employment Preparedness, Willie Iau, have welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DARD and Maiak Rural Investment (MRIA) Overseas Seasonal Workers recruiting Agency here in Vanuatu. Under the MoU, MRIA will collaborate with the DARD to pre-train seasonal workers as part of its germinal requirement for labour export to both Australia and New Zealand seasonal work programmes for 2018 and beyond.

The result is that 20 young potential seasonal workers are undergoing training on farms at Tagabe Agriculture Station, while an unspecified number are training on another farm.

The Director of DARD and Coordinator of Seasonal Employment Preparedness have spoken well of the two-weeks training initiative saying the arrangement is beneficial to both the Government as well as the workers themselves.

“These young men and women work here on contract like they do in Australia and New Zealand. They sign in everyday and sign off at the end of the day and are introduced to the same discipline they experience overseas. They also have a supervisor who communicates to us on their behalf”, they explain.

“They bring their own lunch and water to drink and have a break like they do on farms overseas”. Time is money.

Coordinator Iau is confident that following the training they go through at Tagabe, they will perform better on the farms overseas because they have been trained and already know how to cope with discipline and work pressure.

Asked how old the trainees are, the Coordinator says they are aged 25 years old and younger.

Iau explains that whatever crops they plant or clean at Tagabe does not necessarily mean they are going to work on the same crops on farms overseas. “The purpose of this training is to prepare them for the real thing because we know that before this initiative was reached, some workers had been sent back for lack of physical fitness”, Iau explains.

“Now we are going to assess them and send their individual performance reports to their agents who will make his and her recruitment of new workers from Vanuatu. The workers themselves know they have to work hard to receive positive reports to qualify them to work overseas”.

Director Ravo speaks highly of the new programme, saying the Vanuatu Government benefits from it through much needed manpower on its farms while the workers gain much needed preparedness training.

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