Ring offers labour
A MACHINERY ring in north-east Scotland has taken on a new and expanding role as the supplier of farm labour. As many as 60 workers a day are being hired out by Mearns and Angus Services, based at Laurencekirk.
"We have 35 people employed by us as temporary workers. The figure goes higher during peak periods. We started the service three years ago and it has grown by leaps and bounds," says managing director Graham Bruce.
The labour service is an offshoot of Ringlink, the amalgamation of two machinery rings, which now dominates the north-east. It has a turnover of £5m a year but the labour side is creeping up and has moved past the £1m mark.
"The labour market is our growth industry.
"We are not only placing labour, but training and retraining in a variety of skills. One example is a man who is driving a fork lift truck during the week and then doing the third milking on a big dairy farm on a job-sharing basis," Mr Bruce says.
"There are hundreds of farms where they can justify a man for two days a week but not full time. We have several cases of workers being made redundant, coming to us, and then going back, part-time, to the farm they left."
"We are offering people a chance to stay in farm work. We also create openings for newcomers to the industry and provide full training before they go on a farm. That is much appreciated because not many of todays farmers can afford to have a worker away of day or block release classes. We do our training through the modern apprenticeship scheme," he says.