Australian beekeepers who can’t find experienced and local workers to meet their needs can recruit employees from some of our nearest neighbours in the Pacific. Some commercial beekeepers in Australia have already tapped into this resource and the opportunities are apparent.
When asked how likely these bee businesses would be to recommend this scheme to other commercial beekeepers, the response was ‘extremely likely’ and the employers indicated that overall, the benefits of participating in the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme (PLS) outweighed the costs.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade new Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme enables workers to come to Australia to work for one to three years. This program is different to the Seasonal Workers Programme which only enables workers to stay for up to six months. This makes the investment in beekeeping skills development and training on the job better value for money as beekeepers will be staying for longer and can build their independence as part of the team.
COVID-19 has slowed travel to a halt at present, but if you’re interested in getting involved in this program you can start now by being in touch with the PLS team and going through the checklist to get your business approved as an eligible employer.
Keep in mind that beekeepers will need to find suitable accommodation at a reasonable cost and will need a hand with travel so they can commute to the worksite each day.
Working with beekeepers in the Pacific can not only enable your bee business to be more productive and profitable, it also goes a long way to upskilling some key industry players in their countries and enables these beekeepers to go home with skills they can use to get work with their local DPI and in building their family bee business. One of the primary motivators for beekeepers coming from overseas is to improve their beekeeping skills and learn best practice from the Australian honey bee industry.
Frequently asked questions
Some frequently asked questions about the program can be found here.
Pacific Labour Scheme
+61 7 3557 7750
- This article was written by Cooper Schouten and peer-reviewed by Liz Frost and Nadine Chapman.
- Photo top: Pacific Island beekeepers breeding queen bees and looking to develop their skills