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Campaigns to try to recruit seasonal workers have been running on a range of platforms not just in Scotland but right around the United Kingdom. For example, we have been working with Lantra Scotland, which has been running a skills matching service, and NFU Scotland is hosting a website to link directly to job opportunities with growers.
However, we are hearing from growers that, even though such websites have been getting tens of thousands of hits, there has been a low conversion rate and interest is not necessarily translating into applications.
When it comes to people taking up the opportunity to work on farms, they are not always able to commit to working for the whole season. There is a mixture of factors involved in that, as there will be a variety of reasons why people have gone for the job opportunities. For example, they might be furloughed workers who find that they have to return to work.
We are aware of how key this issue is to fruit and vegetable production, which is why we continue to closely monitor the situation and to engage regularly with producers and stakeholder representatives.
As I said in my previous response, we have been working closely with the sector. Workforce availability is a standing item on the agendas for our weekly meetings with fruit and vegetable sector representatives.
Those meetings provide the opportunity for growers to discuss the problems that they are experiencing right now and for us, as a Government, to look at what we can do to support them in the challenges that they face. A recent example of our work with the sector was the production of sector-specific guidance on social distancing, as there are particular challenges in different areas. We are also working closely with the sector on potential activity to recruit migrant workers from the European Union. That work would normally happen and we continue with it.