National News

Calling Young Aussies: ‘Get outta town after lockdown’ for a once in a lifetime GAP Year experience

As young Aussies crave an adventure, they are being encouraged to get outta town after lockdown for a new type of GAP Year filled with fun, new friendships and skill development opportunities in their own backyard. 

Social enterprise Thankful’s Australian initiative, Thankful4Farmers is calling on young people to try a new type of GAP Year across rural and regional Australia.  Highlighting the once in a lifetime experiences waiting for them and the great opportunity to make a real difference, the New GAP Year is encouraging young Australians to GoAndPick or GoAndPour in regional Australia.

To help young Australians wanting adventure, the organisation has launched a new website and platform www.newgapyear.com.au connecting them with job opportunities in rural and regional Australia and has everything they need to plan and map out their GAP – whether they want to GoAndPick, GoAndPour for a week, a month or a whole year.  

The New GAP Year launches as there is a skilled labour shortage across regional Australia, particularly in agriculture and hospitality industries. The agriculture labour shortages are causing crop losses and tens of millions to be lost to the local economy with fruit and vegetables continuing to rot in fields. 

An issue that is having a knock-on effect beyond the farmgate to all Australians with the Consumer Price Index showing retail fruit and vegetable prices rising by around 5% in June 2021 due to a shortage of pickers. The September 2021 Quarterly update for Horticulture from the Department of Agriculture also shows that  prices will remain high in 2021-22 due to labour shortages.  

“There are so many amazing people and places waiting for them across regional and rural Australia,” says Thankful CEO, Kim McDonnell who is behind the initiative. “As well as great ways they can earn money and learn new skills while exploring.” 

“We know young Aussies are dreaming of adventure after a hard year. We also know they are the highest unemployed group, suffering the most with mental health and wellness. This really is a great opportunity for them to have fun, make new friends, earn money and get outta town after lockdown.”

“At the same time, they will be ‘doing good’ by providing a helping hand to rural and regional communities and ensuring every Australian family can access the fresh and delicious produce this country produces.  They will be connected with fee free courses to help future-proof skills, explore new interests and trial in-demand industries.”

“COVID border closures have caused seasonal labour shortages across Australian farms with many producers not knowing where to go to or how to attract seasonal workers. The skilled labor crisis and the growing impact of climate change compound the challenges currently facing farmers.” 

“So by connecting producers and employers in regional communities to young Aussies looking for an amazing adventure, we hope to help address the labour shortage issue and deliver a once in a lifetime experience filled with fun, new friendships and skill development opportunities .” 

“The New GAP Year platform is a labour solution for producers and other employers in rural and regional communities which estimates the agriculture labour shortage alone  is around 24,000. And with the lost crop register exceeding $50 million in March, already many producers are worried about the 2021 harvest and destroying produce because of the inability to harvest.”

“Thankful4Farmers is committed to helping regional and rural Australia and we wanted to help address this growing issue with a practical and meaningful solution, which will enables them to find seasonal workers they need and focus on what they do best – producing fresh and healthy produce for every Australian family every day.” 

The Thankful4Farmers New GAP Year platform  (www.newGAPyear.com.au) has partnered with Training Services  NSW to deliver free training courses for young people, job seekers and school leavers as well as jobs marketplace, Tree to deliver a comprehensive solution.  The website has everything people need to plan and map out their GAP in regional and rural Australia.  

The Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said young people could also take advantage of fee-free training as part of the Summer Skills program to get qualifications.

“The NSW Government is working with training providers to offer free skills sets in areas such as agriculture, horticulture, shearing and even drone operations. This is a great opportunity for students and young people who have been locked down to break out, have an adventure and learn some new skills.”

“They can connect with labour providers, producers and employers across rural and regional Australia and make the most of the many amazing experiences across Australia await them in The New GAP Year. They can start planning their adventure today – whether they want to GoAndPick or GoAndPour for a week, a month or a whole year,” said McDonnell. 

Celebrity Chef and Thankful4Farmers Ambassador, Matt Moran today issued a call to arms to young Australians. 

“The New GAP Year is a great way to get outta town after a long lockdown,” says Moran. “I’ve seen firsthand the impact that labour shortages are having on regional and rural Australia with many farmers facing no choice but to destroy their crops and many hospitality venues struggling to find staff. This is a fantastic opportunity to have a fun-filled adventure in our backyard, while also making a real difference to the community, learning valuable skills and forging new friendships along the way.”

Thankful is the world’s leading multi-product and multi-cause social impact brand. The social enterprise partners with brands and organisations to raise awareness and funds to address systemic global challenges and help communities in need. It’s Australian initiative Thankful4Farmers brings together industries, brands, influencers and consumers in a united effort to amplify awareness and generate scalable funding to create transformational impact to support sustainable agriculture and regional communities. 

 

For further information visit: www.newgapyear.com.au

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