We are pleased to introduce Julian Banks as our new State Manager for the Harvest Trail Information Service.

Over the next six months while Rob Hayes enjoys some long service leave, Julian will cover Rob’s patch – Victoria and southern WA.

Julian joins HTIS after 18 months looking after the Northern NSW region for the Harvest Trail Service.

Julian Banks with Tracey Fowler from the Northern NSW Harvest Trail Service office

Enticed to Australia’s sunny shores

Growing up in southern England, Julian was brought up in a close-knit family with his grandfather a dairy farmer around the grassy hills of Surrey his closest association to rural life. A sports fanatic, Julian played competitive cricket, hockey, soccer and golf through his teens until the big wide world of work started to appeal.

An avid skier, he undertook an intensive cooking course to qualify for running ski chalets in the French Alps in his year off – and it was this start in the tourism sector that saw him work for over 6 years in the industry, 4 of which included recruiting customer focussed staff to work in the ski fields.

And it was in the running of ski resorts that Julian met his now wife, Catriona, an Australian who always harboured plans to return to Sydney. They did just that in late 2006, where Julian then joined a large steel manufacturing business where he continued to hone is recruitment skills and take on some people leadership.

Corporate life

The operational aspects of recruiting talent started to turn strategic when Julian joined Lion, one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest food and beverage businesses in early 2011. Talent mapping, competitor research and utilising data to inform proactive workforce planning and management decisions became the key drivers, all underpinned by a strong emphasis on authentic leadership and customer experience.

Tree Change Sea Change

On finishing at Lion in 2020, Julian and his now family of 4 (with two daughters aged 10 & 12) moved to Coffs Harbour where he took on the new challenge of recruiting labour within the horticultural sector. Buoyed by the opportunity to make a difference and showcase farmwork for what it really is, Julian ran the Northern NSW HTS region, spanning Tweed Heads in the north down to Forster in the southern part of the mid-north coast.

As a new Harvest Office the key was to focus on establishing relationships with local growers and hunting down all the avenues where local and itinerant workers would be looking for jobs such as backpacker hostels, visitor centres and employment service providers. The mantra has always been to put the customer first and in what has undoubtedly been a challenging 18 months with COVID restrictions and implications, the region has seen great success with securing casual employment for many local Australian jobseekers.

Outside of work

Julian’s love of all things sport has continued through his life with golf, cricket and football his main passions. Any excuse to put the clubs in the back of his car and he’s off and away. Living close to the glorious Bonville Golf Resort on the Mid North Coast NSW sees him regularly honing his skills.

He also plays an active role volunteering for the local football club as Registrar, playing in the Masters O35’s and watching his eldest daughter work her way through the region’s representative ranks. His youngest daughter is a tragic horse lover and when she can’t be on or near a horse, she’s on the netball court with her best mates, following the footsteps of her mother!

The family are all foodies and love the garden. Their love of growing their own fruit and vegetables started on the birth of their eldest daughter when Julian’s work bought a dwarf lime and orange tree which, 12 years on, yield an abundance of gorgeous fruit – this orchard has grown to include various herbs, citrus, mangoes, kiwi fruit, a young macadamia nut tree and stonefruit trees.

For anyone involved in the horticulture industry in Victoria or Southern WA, Julian Banks is now on board to help with information about anything to do with seasonal labour, and to assist resolving the current supply issues.* For clarity we are yet to find any evidence that Julian and Kristy Banks, HTIS State Manager in Queensland, are related. Out of coincidence they both joined MADEC on the same day in July 2020 and met each other for the first time on a zoom call! They look forward to working together and eventually meeting in person at some stage in 2022.