A combination of structured training and team commitment clinched the success of a Goulburn Valley fruit packers course.
Nine fruit packers at the Northern Pear Growers coolstore, Mooroopna, were presented with official fruit packer certificates last week in recognition of their proficiency.
The certificates were awarded to 47 fruit packers who attended a one-week course at packing sheds in Cobram, Mooroopna, Merrigum, Shepparton and Ardmona.
The huge success of this year’s course was reflected in the statistics of trained people still working as fruit packers in the industry, 65 per cent compared with an estimated retention rate of only 35 per cent in recent years.
The course was run by Goulburn Valley College of Technical and Further Education through the adult training course, which was designed to help overcome problems of adults seeking full-time employment.
The course was introduced in response to a predicted shortfall of fruit packers for the 1987 season, predicted by a Northern Victoria Fruitgrowers Association survey.
The NVFA met with representatives from the Commonwealth Employment Service, TAFE and individual orchardists at the time to discuss the possibility of a formal packer training course.
The success of this year’s course has been attributed to the commitment of packing sheds and applicants involved, the introduction of a structured course and extensive pre-screening of applicants to determine their eligibility.