Are you looking for fruit picking jobs in Scotland to support your slow travel plans around the region?
Whether you’re on a working holiday, taking a gap year from school, or just needing a short break from the hustle and bustle of the city, fruit picking in Scotland can be just what you need.
We understand if you have no idea what to expect and where to start, so we’ve prepared an all-you-need-to-know guide to fruit picking jobs in Scotland.
From the best fruit picking spots to the cost of living in Scotland, we’ve got you covered.
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Where To Find Fruit Picking Jobs in Scotland
There are many fruit picking jobs in Scotland especially during the summertime.
Summary Of The Best Fruit Picking Spots In Scotland:
1.Craigies Farm, Edinburgh and the Lothians
If you’re looking to do some fruit picking in Edinburgh, this fruit-farm-turned-cafe-and-shop makes for a great place for cherry and strawberry picking in Scotland.
Belhaven Fruit Farm is a family-run business based in East Lothian along to coastline of Edinburgh. With top growing systems in place for fruit picking in East Lothian, Belhaven has become one of the top places for strawberry picking in East Lothian.
Famous for berry picking jobs in Scotland and located in the historic town of St Andrews, Allanhill Farm is a great pick to enjoy your days off . They even organize weekend events for workers.
One of the fruit picking jobs in Dundee lies in the W. A. Porter Carmichael Farm, founded in 1995. In addition to strawberries, they also grow blackberries and blueberries. Residential caravans are also offered to workers who wish to stay onsite.
Situated on the North East coastline of Scotland, Castleton Farm is one of the many establishments with fruit picking jobs in Aberdeenshire. They grow strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries all year long spanning from April until November. Job scopes here vary from picking, tunnel work, planting and packhouse work.
Borne out of dedication and years of history, Stewarts of Tayside Farm focuses on growing, harvesting and packing fresh produce, primarily swede, strawberries and raspberries.
If you’re looking for a family-based berry-picking job in Scotland, this is a great option.
Before making your decision on which fruit farm you want to work at, there are several things we would need to understand first.
The Temporary Worker visa (T5) enables certain types of temporary workers to enter the UK for agriculture, cultural, charitable objectives.
However, in order to qualify, you would need to demonstrate:
- A valid passport
- A certificate of sponsorship from your farm employer (check with your farm employer if they have a licence to be your sponsor)
- Bank statements showing you have had at least GBP945 (USD1,303) in savings continuously for 90 days before you apply.
- A Tuberculosis (TB) certificate (if required)
The duration of stay for the Seasonal Worker visa is a maximum of 6 months.
In terms of fees, you can apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa for GBP244 (USD337).
Once applied, you will get an answer within three weeks of applying.
It is a relatively stress-free process, but only if you’ve met all the requirements and have provided all necessary documents.
What is Fruit Picking?
Perhaps Fruit picking may sound easy, but it takes a lot of energy.
Fruit picking and packaging is one of the most important parts of the agriculture industry in Scotland because of the delicate nature of the fruit which requires a gentle touch when harvesting.
The best part is that fruit picking doesn’t require formal education, however, you would need to follow strict procedures and follow through with a guided induction to minimise product loss.
Why Fruit Picking in Scotland?
Scotland’s fertile land and temperate climate make it ideal for farming a variety of fruit and veggies.
Although Scotland is usually not the first country that comes to mind when it comes to fruit picking jobs, it’s definitely a good option.
Additionally, Scotland is well-known for its diversity of stunning landscapes and magical history. From dramatic highlands, magical lakes to magnificent ancient castles, it is no wonder that the local government is projecting a tourism boom come 2022.
Fruit Picking Seasons in Scotland
The best time to embark on your fruit picking journey in Scotland would be in the summertime, from June through August.
With temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C (59°F) to 17°C (63°F), you’ll be able to enjoy a cooling summer that’s neither too humid nor dry.
Seasonal fruit picking jobs in Scotland usually are posted from June to August as it offers plenty of soft fruits and vegetables ready for harvest.
Some farms start picking as early as May until November.
The busiest fruit farms usually have strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, cherries and plums.
How Are The Working Hours For Fruit Picking Jobs Scotland?
On average, the working hours for a fruit picker ranges from 6-7 hours per day, for 6 days a week. The day starts early, at around 6.30 am and finishes by 3.00 pm.
Formal education is not required, however, you would need to have overall good health and strength as you’ll be required to gather fruit outdoors for long periods of time.
Different recruiters and farms have different job scopes for their employees, so be sure to check the job description before applying. But generally, it does help if you are detailed-oriented, reliable, fast and have good hand-eye coordination.
How Much Are Fruit Pickers Getting Paid?
You will be paid within the National Minimum Wage in the United Kingdom which is at GBP8.91 (USD12.29) per hour if you are older than 23 years old, as of 1st April 2021. If you’re aged 18 to 22, the minimum wage is GBP8.36 (USD11.53) per hour.
Fruit picking pays you based on the weight of the fruit that you’ve managed to harvest, and in accordance with peak and off-peak seasons.
It’s safe to stick with the quote, “The more you pick, the more you earn.” Although rates are not guaranteed and they differ farm-to-farm, fruit pickers can earn between GBP350 (USD482) – GBP500 (USD689) per week for your reference.
If you think you are being paid unfairly, check to see if your pay matches the National Minimum Wage on the National UK Government Website.
Is There A Minimum Age Limit To Pick Fruit?
The minimum age to apply for a job in the UK is 18.
Most fruit picking jobs in Scotland are open to students taking a gap year or looking for a short-term summer job, you would have to be 18 years old and above.
Although it is a physically demanding job, you would be able to enjoy the hard work and the money you earn while making new friends in the process – which makes it a rewarding experience.
Is Accommodation Provided When Fruit Picking?
Most fruit-picking jobs with accommodation in Scotland comes with an additional cost.
Accommodation is quite often provided in the forms of caravans, dormitories and shared farmhouses, usually within walking distance to the farms.
Having said that, each farm is different so we advise asking the farm directly via email or their social media pages.
Cost of Living in Scotland
Is living in Scotland expensive?
Generally, living in Scotland is less expensive than the rest of the United Kingdom. However, if you’re looking to spend your hard-earned money travelling, take the budget route and plan out your expenses.
If you got a fruit-picking job in Edinburgh, a single person’s living costs can range from as low as GBP750 (USD1,034) to GBP1,500 (USD2,069) per month on average.
Accommodation in Scotland is not cheap, especially when you’re in city centres like Edinburgh and Glasgow.
You can find good hostels and Airbnb rental rooms for as low as GBP20 (USD28) a night. Higher-end guesthouses and B&B rooms will cost between GBP40 (USD55) – GBP100 (USD138) a night, for a more comfy option.
It’s best for you to weigh out your options and list out what suits your budget. It always helps to identify what you are willing to sacrifice for comfort or food or a travel experience.
Getting around in Scotland is accessible, convenient and efficient.
The Scottish towns and cities are well-connected by an extensive road and rail network, with a variety of choices available for getting you from a place to another.
Exploring a new place by rail offers unique scenic landscapes of Scotland and you can even hop off the train to explore a town for a day with a 7-day travel pass.
There are many scenic driving routes that you can take as well.
With the help of petrol stations on all major highways, handy signposts for easy navigation and a trusty rental car, Scotland makes it easy for you to focus on the picturesque views and enjoy your drive.
If you’re exploring within a town or a city, we recommend either walking or cycling. This will not only save you a lot of money, but you’ll also be able to see the city from a different perspective.
3.Food and Groceries
Eating out can be quite pricey in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow.
A meal out can cost between GBP13 (USD18) to GBP55 (USD75), depending on the restaurant and the region.
If your accommodation is equipped with a kitchen and cooking utensils, we recommend buying groceries from the local farmer’s market or a supermarket and cooking your own meal.
On average, monthly groceries would only cost you around GBP76 (USD105).
Having said that, it’s okay to splurge a little when travelling and try some traditional Scottish food. After all, what’s experiencing the local culture, without tasting its food and drinks right?
Things You Need To Know Before Applying For Fruit Picking Jobs In Scotland
Now you are more informed about what to expect in a fruit picking job in Scotland, here are 3 tips you need to know before applying:
1.Find Reliable Agriculture Recruiters
Have a little job search on Google and there may be a plethora of job recruiters for you to choose from. However, don’t forget to do your due diligence and find a reliable agriculture recruiter to avoid being scammed.
It would be best to apply for farms with a proper website and clear expectations in terms of job scope, accommodation details if any and pay, listed out clearly.
Some farm work job boards:
2.Know Your Rights
A fruit picking job in Scotland is a fantastic solution for both you and your employer. But we know that without an official full-time contract, the area about your rights and what you’re entitled to become a grey area.
You are entitled to several rights as a temporary fruit picker in Scotland:
- The number of hours you’re expected work should be fixed before commencement
- You’re entitled to rest breaks and a day off after a week’s work (max. 48 hours)
- You must be paid at minimum national minimum wage for your age group
- You are entitled to paid holidays
- Last but not least, you are entitled to be treated equally regardless of age, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation or religion.
If you’re unsure about whether you’re being treated fairly, do not hesitate to speak with your recruiter or line manager to iron things out.
This is a conversation that’s imperative to have.
3. Apply Early
Demand is high! Some farms start recruitment as early as in May, so keep a lookout for vacancies posted on recruitment websites.
You might also want to take into consideration the amount of time needed for your visa application to be approved, so be sure to buffer in at least 3 weeks to a month for that.
Also, if you don’t hear from them within that duration, don’t be shy to follow up with them to check on your application status.
Don’t miss the berry season!
In a nutshell, Scotland goes into harvest season every summer and they are constantly looking for extra help. If you’re looking to work and travel Scotland, give fruit-picking a try and you may learn a thing or two from working at these local farms, whilst travelling the country.
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