The farms are a family-run business based in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Managing crops over 2,500 acres of land, the farms produce the highest quality asparagus, rhubarb, blueberries, green beans and potatoes. Key to their success is their hardworking and skilled staff that join them each season.
Seasonal work: Harvest work is available at the farms between January and October each year
Experience required: No experience is required as full training and support is offered to all new staff
Accommodation: Onsite accommodation is provided by the farm team
Minimum Age: Must be at least 18 years old due to health and safety requirements
- Pre-season work
- Harvest work
- Pack-house work
ABOUT THE WORK:
The work at the farms is challenging, but fun and rewarding at the same time. As teamwork is always required, staff often make friends for life. You will also have the opportunity to work with many people from other countries and cultures.
You will need to be flexible in regards to your working hours, as you may be required to work early mornings and late nights; this is not your usual 9 to 5 job.
The pre-season work (Jan, Feb & March) involves preparing the fields for the asparagus harvest. Every aspect of the job role is based outdoors in the field, and staff are required to work in all weather conditions. Typical jobs include putting polythene and hoops onto asparagus fields, building Spanish tunnels, pruning blueberries and vines, and harvesting rhubarb.
The harvest work involves working as a team in a field environment, cutting and collecting asparagus. Part of the harvest work will be based on the satellite sites in Suffolk and Norfolk.
Both The pre-season and harvest work require a physically fit person, capable of bending, walking, lifting and working as a team to ensure the job is completed efficiently and to a high standard.
Working in The Packhouse includes duties such as washing, grading and packing. Staff will be assigned to a specific area and trained in specific tasks. During peak season, the Packhouse will run 24 hours a day and employees will work on a shift basis. Again, a physically fit person will be required for this job.
Allocation of areas and tasks will take place at first induction, therefore, be prepared to work both in the Packhouse and in the field.
When starting at the farms, you’ll be asked to brief the team about your previous jobs / skills so that they can match them to the work that will be assigned to you.
PAY AND HOURS:
You will normally be required to work a five or six day week. The farm team aims to allocate between 40- 48 hours per week per person but this will be weather and crop dependent.
The hourly rate for employees is in line with the national minimum wage.
You will be paid each week in arrears (on a Wednesday), directly into your bank account or onto a One Pay prepaid card, which the team at the farm can help you obtain.
You must have an active email address, as they will often send payslips and important information to this address.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES:
Inductions will take place on arrival at the farm; important information will be provided such as health and safety regulations, campsite rules, job specification and advice on how to be successful in your job role.
A supervisor will work alongside you on your first day to assist and help where necessary. Full guidance will be given when you’re asked to carry out different tasks. Training courses will be available and you will be notified in advance as to how and when you can attend.
In regards to promotion opportunities, those that show aptitude, ability and good communication skills will be considered. It is important that you communicate with the team in regards to any areas you may be interested in working in, as they will do their best to match your requirements to specific job roles.
Accommodation is provided for you in mobile homes which sleep between 4 and 6 people. If you are coming with friends or family, you can request to share the accommodation with them.
Each mobile home consists of a lounge, a bathroom and 2-3 bedrooms. Furniture is provided, including: tables, chairs, a cooker, fridge and heaters. You will need to provide cooking and eating utensils and bed linen. We will make sure the accommodation is clean and tidy when you arrive, and it is your responsibility to keep it clean during your stay.
The price for the accommodation is £52.85 per week. You will receive one full Gas bottle when you arrive, and any future ones can be purchased on site and split between all occupants of the mobile home.
If you choose to live off site, you will need to make your own arrangements to travel to work.
FACILITIES AVAILABLE ONSITE:
There are several recreational facilities on site including football pitches, pool tables and table tennis tables. There is also a computer room and WI Fi access across the whole site, including in your caravans. New for 2020 is a Gym for all staff to use should they wish.
There is an onsite shop and laundry where you can wash and dry your clothes and purchase various food products from your home country. The shop also sells items such as waterproofs, gloves and wellies that you use for work.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES:
There is a dedicated Welfare Team that is there to support you during your stay.
If you need to attend the doctors, dentist or hospital they will help you book the appointments and take you there to support you.
They also organise daily shopping trips on the minibus to the local supermarkets. This is free of charge.
They encourage people to take part in organised sporting and movie nights and arrange a farm party at the end of the season to celebrate everyone’s hard work.
They will support you with allocation of mobile homes, induction training, campsite maintenance and translation services if required.
If you have any work-related issues you have experienced managers and a HR team to rely on to help.
The farms largest site is based in Herefordshire which is in the middle of the UK. Asparagus is harvested between March and July with other working taking place outside of these months. The packhouse is also situated at this site in Herefordshire where all the asparagus is sorted, graded and packed.
The campsite is 10 minutes (45 minutes’ walk) from the local town of Ross-On-Wye where there are a number of supermarkets, shops and cafes.
Ross-On-Wye is the nearest town with supermarkets, shops, a chemist, swimming pool, pubs and a club. Your Welfare Officer can direct you to these and help book a taxi if you require.
The nearest airports to the farm are Birmingham and Bristol, however many people find it easier to fly to London and then get a taxi to the farm.
If you need any guidance with getting to the site, then please contact us for additional help.
DO I NEED TO HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE IN THIS KIND OF WORK?
No. It would be an advantage, but there are many workers that have never worked in this area before. The main requirements are that you must be physically able to do the job, enthusiastic and prepared to work hard. You will be provided with full training and support.
DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COME TO THE FARM?
No, but it is your responsibility to make your own way to the UK (flight costs etc.) We do NOT charge sign-up fees for work at Cobrey Farms.
The Working Holiday Club provides travel agent and cultural exchange services only in your destination country. It is not an employment agency nor is it a recruitment agency and whilst we may introduce you to prospective employers, we do so in order to give you options as to how to fund your overseas trip and we do not guarantee an offer of employment.
Introductions to employers which may help you fund your trip are made free of charge and no component of your program fee is allocated towards this part of your travel and cultural package.
CAN I APPLY WITH A FRIEND, PARTNER OR HUSBAND?
Yes you can, there is an option on your application form for you to state their names. We will try our best to arrange the dates together should you both be successful.
WHEN AND HOW WILL I FIND OUT IF I HAVE A JOB?
If your application is successful with the farms, you will receive an email with an offer of employment and start date. Job offers are made in November/December for the following spring. The farm is massive – there are almost 1,000 seasonal employees recruited every season so please be patient; you will be told the outcome of your application either way.
WILL I GET A DAY OFF?
Yes, the team always aims to give people at least one day off per week for you to relax and enjoy the local area.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A UK BANK ACCOUNT?
Yes. If you don’t already have a UK Bank Account then we will help you to set up a UK Bank Account on arrival to the UK (as part of your UK arrival services pack).
Alternatively the team at the farm will help you set up a prepaid card, which your wages can be paid onto. The card does contain charges for some types of withdrawals, however this will be explained in the induction. You will be able to use this card in most shops and establishments both in the UK and in your home country.
If you’d prefer to use your UK bank account for your wages you will be required to give your UK Bank information at your induction training, otherwise a OnePay card will be ordered for you. Please note you cannot change bank accounts during the asparagus season.
I DON’T HAVE A NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER DOES THIS MEAN I CAN’T WORK?
No, we will assist you in securing a National Insurance Number when you are at the farm.
WHEN DO I NEED TO ARRIVE?
Once you’ve got your job offer, the team at the farm will confirm an arrival date with you and we will jump in to help you coordinate your trip to the farm.
If you cannot start on your arrivals date, there is an element of flexibility so please speak directly with the HR team at the farms regarding this.
The latest arrival times are: Mon-Fri 6pm, Sat-Sun 2pm. Unfortunately, they are unable to accept staff arriving before 7am in the morning or after the above times in the evenings, as your accommodation will not be available.
HOW WILL I GET TO THE FARM?
You must email your arrival information to the welfare team 2 weeks prior to your arrival. This is where you’ll send through any requests with regards to family and friends you wish to share accommodation with (please note, we cannot guarantee these requests will be fulfilled, however we will do our best to accommodate).
You will need to consider how long it will take to get from the airport to the farm (3-4 hours) when booking your flights.
We recommend you spend 3-4 days in London first to collect your biometrics card from the post office for your visa, set up your UK Bank account, do some exploring of the city and get over your jet lag before making your way to the farm.
You will need to book a coach from London to Ross on Wye (we recommend booking with National Express – they provide coaches – www.nationalexpress.com)
If you ring the team at the farm from the bus station they may be able to collect you, otherwise you will need to get a taxi. There will be nobody available to collect you after 6pm so you should try to arrive before then. The cost of a taxi from Ross on Wye station to the farm is approximately £7.
CAN I BRING A CAR TO THE FARM?
Unfortunately you are NOT allowed a car at the farm. You will be allocated 1 free minibus trip to Ross on Wye weekly, and there are plenty of taxi and bus services to get you out and about.
CAN I WORK FOR MORE THAN ONE SEASON AT THE FARMS?
Yes, before you leave the farms you can complete a returnee form with your manager to come back the following season. However, no guarantees will be made and contract offers will be based upon performance, disciplinary records and staff availability.
WILL I BE GREETED BY ANYONE WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE FARMS?
Yes, as long as you arrive during the above specified times one of the welfare teams will meet you and provide you with welcome information, including where you will be staying, location of important facilities and induction details.
WHO WILL MAKE MY FOOD?
Staff are expected to prepare and cook their own meals, including lunch and drinks, while at work.
CAN WE SOCIALISE ON THE CAMPSITE?
Yes, many staff socialise with others within their own mobile homes but also with their neighbours. They listen to music, have BBQs and use the sports facilities on site. You are asked that noise is kept to a minimum after 10pm due to early starts.
ARE THE CAMPSITES AND CARAVANS SECURE?
All members of each mobile home will be provided with a security code, however you will be responsible for your own valuables, so do ensure you lock up at all times. Keep your bank card and pin number secure and do not leave these lying around.
During the asparagus season, the farms employ security to support the welfare team and look after staff between the hours of 8pm and 6am. Security will be responsible for ensuring you are safe but also making sure noise levels are reasonable and campsite rules are followed.
CAN I WORK IF I AM UNDER THE AGE OF 18?
No, you will need to be over 18 to live and work residentially at the farms due to Health and Safety requirements.