A unique program for cotton growers to reach keen operational staff.
Application period for 2017 opens shortly
What is it?
For cotton growers
‘Cotton Gap’ is a unique opportunity for cotton growers to reach keen operational staff who have just finished school and are interested in either a long-term career in cotton or 12 months employment in the form of a ‘gap year’.
For school leavers
Cotton Gap is an amazing opportunity for school leavers to experience a year, working in unique rural and remote regions of Australia in mixed and varied farming enterprises which will allow you to:
- Learn new skills
- Form new friendships
- Earn a life time of stories
- Experience the lifestyle advantages of working remotely
- Build savings for the financially straining years ahead
- Qualify for youth allowance – Some students who earn a designated amount of money during their gap year are able to qualify as independent and receive Youth Allowance during their studies. This is a really worthwhile way to spend your gap year, because the knowledge that you will be supported financially throughout your degree is a great reward at the end of a year of work
- Create the opportunity to split placements e.g. different companies or different properties
- Undergo training to set you up for further work opportunities
- Create a network in the industry to help if you want to pursue a career in agriculture
- Apply to participate with your friends
- Work in an exciting and innovative industry
- Experience low cost of living
- Gain practical experience on farm
- Build character
- Get involved in the local community and sport
- Create links for ongoing holiday employment for when you start university or college studies
Expression of interest
The program is facilitated by Cotton Australia. Cotton Australia is currently seeking expressions of interest (EOIs) from cotton enterprises interested in employing a school-leaver. Cotton Australia is also seeking EOIs from students and school-leavers interested in first-hand experience in one of Australia’s most innovative and forward-thinking agricultural industries.
Information for employers
- Support: Employers will be supported to ensure they are meeting their workplace health and safety and employment requirements (through myBMP) and would be made aware of relevant government subsidies for employment and training.
- Training: Entry-level training will be coordinated for the new industry entrants.
- Submit an EOI: Register your interest by contacting Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing
The process for involvement:
- Read over the employer eligibility criteria to confirm that you are eligible to be part of the program. Read over the workplace health and safety cheat sheet to ensure you meet the WHS requirements.
- Create an advertisement for the Cotton Gap year role you are offering on your farm. This is an opportunity to ‘sell’ your farm, community and the experiences they will gain through spending time on your farm as well as provide them with enough information to decide whether the role is for them. Include photos. Consider putting yourself in the shoes of the students or parents. A template is provided by Cotton Australia for you to build on or you may like to use or you may like to develop your own.
- Send your advertisement as a PDF to Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing
- The information you provide will be compiled into an e-booklet featuring all the growers who are interested in employing a gap year student. This booklet will be made available only to school leavers who have submitted EOIs for a Cotton Gap year. Access to the e-booklet will be via a password protected document. Cotton Australia will not be editing or altering your advertisement in any way.
- School leavers who have submitted and expression of interest to undertake a Cotton Gap year will be invited to contact you directly.
- If this process is successful, and you agree on the terms of employment with the school leaver, please inform Cotton Australia via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing. Cotton Australia will then send you a confirmation email that your details have been removed from the e-booklet and will no longer be circulated to prospective gap year students.
- Your Cotton Australia Regional Manager will liaise with stakeholders (students and employers) to arrange an initial networking meeting for students in the region and investigate options for training and industry orientation.
FAQs for employers
Can we see information about the interested Cotton Gap students?
No. Cotton Australia is not able to circulate this information as some participants are under the age of 18. The students must send you their personal information via a direct application.
What happens if I have an adequate number of Cotton Gap students and no longer wish to be contacted by prospective employees?
Simply contact Cotton Australia and your name will be removed from the potential employers e-booklet.
How will my information be circulated to the students?
In an e-booklet along with advertisements from other employers. This e-booklet will be located online and accessible to students via a code. A link to the e-booklet will be given to the students via email.
What are my responsibilities?
From the point of employment, growers will undertake a normal employment relationship between employer and employee in accordance with relevant workplace relations requirements. .
Who can I talk to for more information?
For more information contact Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing or 0427 107 234
Information for students
- Support and training: Employees will be supported with initial and ongoing training.
- Requirements: Driver’s license.
- Submit an EOI: Register your interest by contacting Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing.
The process for involvement
- Send expression of interest to participate in ‘Cotton Gap’ to Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing
- Receive an email from Cotton Australia confirming receipt of your EOI and describing the next steps
- Cotton Australia will send you the profiles of the employers and the job descriptions. Review their profiles and what opportunities they are providing for a gap year student
- Then apply directly to the farm that appeals to you. This is an opportunity to sell yourself. You can opt to use the cover letter and application form as a base or create your own cover letter and CV. Either way, Consider this an opportunity to ‘sell’ yourself and make sure you tailor it to the individual business
- The farmer to whom you have applied will respond to your application letting you know the next steps
- If you make a successful connection with a farmer, agree formally on the terms of employment including start dates, slaray, hours etc
- At the time of your employment, the Cotton Australia Regional Manager in your area will liaise with stakeholders (yourself, other gap year students and employers) to arrange an initial networking meeting for students in the region and investigate options for training
FAQ for students
What would the work be like on Cotton Gap?
All farms are different. For example some have livestock and mixed crops. Some may require work in the office as well as on the farm. Many structure duties differently. Refer to the advertisements in the booklet from Cotton Australia for each role. The role may or may not involve duties such as preparing fields for growing cotton, driving tractors for mulching, ploughing and spreading fertiliser, planting cotton by driving row precision planters, irrigating and checking plant moisture levels, identifying and recording weeds, harvesting cotton, and following work, health and safety requirements.
What kind of training and qualification do I need?
Refer to the specific job advertisements in the booklet from Cotton Australia for each role. Some employers are happy to train you on the job.
What kinds of attributes do I need?
Generally employers will be looking for someone who is reliable, has good communication skills, good attention to details, is a team player, can problem solve, has initiative and ability to follow instructions, is punctual and has good technology skills. Refer to the job advertisements in the booklet from Cotton Australia for each role.
What would I be paid?
The hourly rate for an entry level worker is paid according to the Pastoral Award rate or above. Refer to the job advertisements in the booklet from Cotton Australia for each role.
Is there accommodation on farm?
Refer to the specific job advertisements in the booklet from Cotton Australia for each role.
Can I apply with a group of friends?
Yes. Look for the participating employers who are looking for groups of gap year students.
Where would I work?
Check out the map of areas where cotton in grown to see the possible regions. Then refer to the job advertisements in the booklet from Cotton Australia for each role.
How do I access the employer booklet?
Submit an expression of interest to Cotton Australia Workforce and Training Coordinator, Bec Fing