7 September 2001

Cumbrians are moving south for jobs

THE foot-and-mouth crisis has had serious repercussions for rural employment in Cumbria but the shortage of farm staff in southern England is providing job opportunities.

Michael Day, who runs the Hereford – based farm employment bureau Dairyforce, has already found new posts for 10 Cumbrians whose jobs were lost during the crisis – and it looks like more will follow the migration route south.

Mr Day says the "chronic" shortage of farm staff in the south, compared with the large number of redundancies that have followed the F&M epidemic in the north, gave him the idea to hold "job clinics" in Cumbria.

"We had a tremendous response and managed to find staff for 10 of our clients. Three more vacancies will soon be filled. We are still getting phone calls and would be delighted to receive more inquiries from people prepared to take jobs in the south," says Mr Day.

Dairyforce is constantly looking for people to fill a wide variety of posts ranging from tractor drivers and general farm workers to herdsmen and stockmen. "This has been a very difficult time for farm staff in the north but at least theres plenty of agricultural employment on offer in the south if people are prepared to grasp the opportunity," says Mr Day.

Robin Mounsey, a 22-year-old from Bampton, near Penrith had not been able to find a job in farming and had moved into catering.

"I particularly wanted to work with livestock but there was nothing on offer in Cumbria.

"I went along to one of the job clinics and landed a position on a pig unit in Wiltshire. It has been a great chance for me and the move away from the north has been a lot easier than I ever imagined," says Mr Mounsey. &#42