The 20-year-old has wanted to do orchard work for years after hearing about the great money you can earn for your tertiary education.
“There’s not a lot of opportunities to earn that kind of money back up north in seasonal work. I started picking last season and my biggest day was 43 buckets, but I usually average around 30. So it’s definitely better than a minimum wage job. I was surprised how much I really enjoyed picking fruit, and my advice to anyone starting is to go in with a positive attitude - giving it your best every day. I was kind of expecting it to be tiresome and cumbersome but it was actually really good.”"
Most of his friends are also coming back again this summer and he’s managed to rope in a few extras as well.
Graydon prefers being outside in the fresh air, and enjoys the competitive aspect of the picking, with the orchard posting daily tallies to see who in the crew has performed the best (no pressure)!
Admittedly, it is really hard work. Getting up as early as 5:30am every day in summer is sometimes a struggle, but Graydon has learned how to ‘achieve happiness,’ and believes it’s not what we do, but how we do it.
Graydon loves learning new skills “and being able to do one thing methodically and repetitively for eight hours a day is a skill in itself and translates well to studying.”
What has also kept him coming back to the orchard is the amount of time he gets to spend with his friends over summer, “and you can earn a fair bit if you can pick well.”
The pro’s definitely outweigh the cons but it was important that new workers knew what they were getting themselves into, before they started.
For a start, you have to find accommodation and that also comes at a cost. Graydon pays $75/week in a shared room on the orchard and still has to pay $150/week for his room back at university as well (12 month lease).
“But the trade off is that you earn quite a bit - but you do spend a bit as well.”
What many workers don’t realise is that at the end of the financial year you also get a really good tax refund.
Hear from Jackson
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