Industry battles skills shortage

Farleigh cane farmer Bill Benson has spent 60 years in the industry.
Farleigh cane farmer Bill Benson has spent 60 years in the industry. Peter Holt

WITH 60 years of experience in the sugar industry, Bill Benson says one of the most difficult challenges farmers face is finding young haul-out workers during the harvesting season.

"Every year it is a battle," Mr Benson said.

"Finding workers to do the carting is difficult... every year they train them up but then they normally leave."

Mr Benson said he has worked since he was 14 and it would be hard for him to eventually stop working.

Although he is prepared to keep working for as long as he has to, he admits he is a in a difficult financial position when it comes to retirement.

"I had a bit of super... but most of that got taken up during the Global Financial Crisis," he said.

"And it is also very difficult for farmers, or people who have assets, to get a decent pension these days."

Topics:  skilled workers sugar industry

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