Gary Francis working in all types of weather at local vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia

MADEC Harvest Trail Services caught up with Gary Francis who is a local South Aussie at one of the many vineyards that Gary has worked at across McLaren Vale in South Australia.  McLaren Vale, is only 45 minutes from Adelaide, boasts more than 80 cellar door and vineyards and is home to world class wines and culinary experiences.

What made you consider getting into Harvest work?

After being made redundant and checking job vacancies I came across harvest work. The attraction was being out in the open enjoying the fresh air, nature and appeal of still doing something physical and being involved in the Horticultural Industry.

Do you enjoy working in horticulture?

Moving from an indoor environment and doing harvest work has worked even better than I expected.  It really suits me as I can keep fit and agile while really enjoying the work that I do. 

I did expect the work to be a very physical demanding role.  I believe that as long as you have an average to above fitness level you will succeed in harvest work and your fitness will improve each day.

Were you being paid an hourly rate or piece rate? If piece rate, how did you find working on piece rate?

I was very fortunate that Piece Rate was explained to me in detail by MADEC Harvest Trail Services as this is very different to how I have been paid in previous jobs.  A copy of the Piece Rate Agreement was supplied which permitted me to make an informed decision.  Piece Rate work is not for everyone, however with training, support, speed and commitment you can earn a decent wage. 

How did you first hear about Harvest Trail Services?

I found out about MADEC Harvest Trail Services by looking on-line.  I then met up with Mark McAllister, Harvest Officer Manager for the Adelaide Barossa region and we met at the Mount Barker office to discuss what harvest work opportunities were available. I settled on a casual Wine Grape Picker role with an amazing family owned contracting business and am happy to say I have really enjoyed working for them. My current position, after earning my stripes, is a seasonal team leader which I am very happy and thankful for and really enjoy.

How was your experience finding a job through MADEC Harvest Trail Services?

It was very simple and easy to understand.  Harvest Manager, Mark, was very understanding of my needs and he matched me well with a great business and a good manager.

The MADEC induction process was very thorough and relevant and it also included the manager of the business explaining ‘a day in the life of a harvest worker’ which was very informative and let me know what the job entailed.   When I was due to commence work I had a sound understanding of what to expect so there were no surprises.

What advice would you give others looking at doing horticulture work?

Simply give it a go.  Australian citizens and residents help our farmers to harvest their crops.  They need your help!

MADEC wishes Gary all the best for the future and thanks him for providing his time for this profile.