The brilliant idea
With UniGrow, you won’t just pick fruit and veg. You’ll reap some amazing benefits:
“At a time when many students are uncertain about what opportunities the summer holds it’s great to see GTI once again supporting them and doing something to offer help and positivity.”
Resourcing Business Partner, Early Careers and Talent Programmes, Inmarsat
Earn good money
There is no other unskilled, temporary job that pays this well (even in years when holiday work is plentiful). Fruit and veg pickers typically earn £400 to £500 a week – and the best even more. For the first fortnight or so, you’ll be given full training (at the basic minimum wage) and supervised to get your technique right. After that, provided you’re physically fit and mentally motivated, you should have no trouble hitting your productivity targets so that you maximise your earnings.
Of course, it is repetitive, physical work with early starts and long hours (40–50 of them over 6 days a week), but you’ll get breaks and even holiday pay, based on the number of hours worked, at the end of your contract. Until then, there won’t be much chance to spend your money. You’ll be living out in the country, in subsidised, self-catering accommodation (mostly shared caravans costing £54.70 a week) with trips to local supermarkets the only shopping opportunities.
Feed the nation
UniGrow is a rare opportunity to help the fight against coronavirus by not staying at home. As a key worker, you’ll not only make a vital contribution to society, you’ll also be allowed to travel to your farm and socialise with colleagues (within the evolving Covid-19 rules).
Picking produce is particularly important this year, as so many overseas seasonal workers aren’t able to travel here. There’s a real danger that our food might rot in the fields. The more British produce we can pick, the greater the environmental benefits too, as imports and food miles are reduced.
Of course, like most key-worker jobs, it won’t be physically easy. Your muscles will ache, at least to start with. You’ll feel exhausted at the end of the day. This is good, hard, honest work for a good cause.
Grow your skills
Look, UniGrow is not your typical internship leading to a graduate job. But it’s an opportunity to gain some vital skills and experience for your future career. Teamwork, productivity, time-keeping, target-hitting, problem-solving, resilience… these are all highly valued by graduate recruiters, many of whom have voiced support for UniGrow. You’ll also learn about food production and a key sector of the UK economy, as well as experiencing work in a multicultural environment.
Of course, UniGrow is much harder work than an internship. You won’t have much time to reflect on how you’re developing as a person and as a future employee. But don’t worry, we’ll remind you – before, during and after your placement – what to think about.
Get out, get fit, get away and (within reason) have some fun
After being locked down for so long, it’s time to get out. Trouble is, there aren’t many opportunities this year. No bar work, no waiting tables, no temping. Even festivals and overseas travel are off the agenda. So why not discover a new side of Britain instead?
The upside of doing a physical job in the fields is that you’ll get fit and have plenty of fresh air. A little wind and rain too, maybe, but at least you can experience the adversities with your mates. UniGrow prioritises group applicants – from friends, housemates, sports teams, whatever. We’ll try to accommodate you together, so that you’re counted as a single household under Covid-19 regulations. If you do apply on your own, we’ll aim to house you with UK students of the same gender and you’ll soon make friends – probably with colleagues from all over Europe.
Of course, you won’t have much time to party. You’ll be working six days a week and starting at the crack of dawn. But you’ll probably be operating in teams, taking breaks together and sharing accommodation. It’s a surprisingly sociable way of life.