Waitrose and ITV to help farms recruit 70,000 workers

The new advertising campaign aims to recruit part of the 70,000 pickers the UK requires each year
The new advertising campaign aims to recruit part of the 70,000 pickers the UK requires each year

Waitrose and ITV have joined forces to help recruit 70,000 British farm pickers in support of the government's Pick for Britain campaign.

The broadcaster has launched a new advertising campaign in partnership with the retailer to support the farmers’ workforce initiative.

The primetime TV advert will urge the British public to get involved and drive potential applicants to the Pick for Britain website.

On the website, the public are able to search for local vacancies in nearby areas that are advertised.

Fears were voiced earlier this year that coronavirus restrictions would prevent much of the usual workforce returning to British farms over the summer.

Pick for Britain was subsequently launched by Defra amid fears of this labour shortage and the impact on farms over the harvest period.

Princes Charles has even backed the government campaign, saying in a video message on Tuesday (19 May) that the UK needed an 'army of people to help'.

The ITV and Waitrose collaboration will support Defra's campaign through a joint airtime initiative.

It will see Waitrose place ads across national print and digital outlets, with targeted content created for social media to raise awareness among students, graduates and younger people looking for long term contracts over the summer.

In addition, later in the year, ITV will broadcast a film following the journey of several people who have volunteered to be a part of the new land army.

The programme, chronicling one of the biggest mobilisations of labour in recent times, will be produced by Wonderhood Studios.

Simon Daglish, deputy managing director at ITV Commercial, said the ad campaign would 'shine a light on the invaluable work' carried out by British farmers.

“The Waitrose partnership is one of numerous ways in which brands are coming together to drive public awareness of the challenges everyone is facing throughout this pandemic.”

NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw explained there would be thousands of vacancies opening up on farms across the country this year.

"From British strawberries being picked in early June all the way through to apples being harvested in the autumn, the importance of workers to pick, pack and grade fruit and veg cannot be understated," he said.

“We have been working closely with the government and I would encourage anyone who is interested in helping pick for Britain throughout this summer to visit the site and see what jobs are out there.”