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Backpackers can pick up more jobs, other than picking

OPPORTUNITY: Costa's Sarah Willder (second from left) at an induction section with new workers who have come from Caloundra in Queensland, and countries including France and Scotland.
OPPORTUNITY: Costa's Sarah Willder (second from left) at an induction section with new workers who have come from Caloundra in Queensland, and countries including France and Scotland. Contributed

IT MIGHT be picking season now, but the berry industry offers more jobs than just picking.

English backpacker Sarah Willder never imagined a job picking raspberries would lead to a two-year sponsored position working in human resources with Costa.

Sarah came to Coffs Harbour to complete her 88 days of farm work to get a second year visa.

After two weeks picking with a private farm, she moved to Costa at Corindi.

"I really wanted to do it because it was just so different from anything I have done before,” Sarah said.

"I'd never really thought about blueberries and raspberries being hand-picked.”

After picking raspberries for two weeks, she moved into the position of assistant supervisor where she worked with various picking crews across the farm.

According to Sarah, that was a great move because she was a "terrible” picker.

She finished her picking in February and was travelling up the east coast, when she received a call from Costa offering her a new position in the human resources sector.

In England, Sarah had completed an undergraduate degree in psychology and education and a Masters degree in human resources.

"For me it's a great experience and learning opportunity. Living here is a little bit quiet - I miss the city sometimes, but I love the beaches,” she said.

"The thing I really love about my job is it's a completely new industry. In the HR sector you are only successful if you are willing to understand the industry you're working in. I love that part of my job.”

Sarah said she also loved the diversity of employees at Costa.

"I am a great believer that we all learn from each other and the more you learn about the world in general the better. It can only be good for an area like Coffs Harbour to have such a variety of people coming to work,” she said.

"It's a great place for backpackers.”

Topics:  backpackers berry industry costas berry farm jobs



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