Holiday jobs a great start

Holiday jobs a great start

Summer jobs can involve earning fun money or be the first step on your career path, reports Alison Aprhys

`I LOVE cherry picking”, says Brook Tiddy, who is into her fourth season working on the same farm near Young in NSW. “It provides me with a great summer lifestyle as I get paid to exercise, get a tan and make new friends each year!”

Tiddy admits that it’s not all sunshine and beer — and that the money is not great. “Fruit-picking income depends on season — we have had droughts, storms, floods, locust plagues and worked up to our shins in mud,” she recalls.

“We have worked some days for just $40 because the fruit was so small … for example, pears the size of golf balls as the farmer did not prune properly against the drought, while the farmer on the next farm had pears so big we made jack o’ lanterns out of the windfalls”.

But enjoyable though it is, this will be her last summer on the farm as Tiddy is enrolling in a TAFE marketing course next year. However, she believes that the fruit picking offers the opportunity of acquiring skills that will stand her in good stead in her future career.

“You need persistence against the heat and earwigs, for example,” she says. “Also you have to be a good communicator to liaise with other pickers”.  While earnings vary according to the fruit, pickers earn about $10 a lug (15kg) for cherries. “Some places pay on weight, others by the lug or bin,” says Ms Tiddy. “I did meet one guy who made $500 a day picking cherries, but that’s not the usual.”

Michael McBride, managing director of Sport Jobs, says now is the time to start looking if you are interested in a sports coaching role. “There’s a lot of off-season coaching roles, but you need to quick,” he says. “Coming up to summer a lot of people are interested in getting fit and healthy so fitness and all the beaches and pools are busier, requiring lifeguards and swim instructors,” he says.

Through the company’s two websites, and, job hunters can search through casual and ongoing jobs all over the country that range from coaching rugby, trampoline, tennis and gymnastics through to sports centre and senior organisational roles.

McBride founded the niche consultancy a year ago after studying a sports science degree and gaining his masters in sports management. He says that the websites have attracted over 1400 specialist jobs from just under 800 sporting organisations.

“Sports Jobs sends out a free weekly email newsletter which lists all their current job adverts to over 4000 sporting job hunters,” says McBride. Roslyn Dekker, a partner in a Western Australian surf school based in Albany on the southwest coast (, turned her summer job into a career and now loves the fact that the beach is her office.

“Teaching surfing is still very seasonal in Albany, it’s not a year-round job as it is in Margaret River or Perth,” she explains. “In fact it’s just starting to crank up now for summer,” she says.
But Dekker says she does not want her business to grow too much, because she has a great work-life balance. “It’s a career I love and one that fits in well with the demands of being a mother of three and wife to Graham, who runs his own upholstery business,” she says.

Dekker was inspired to complete a surf coach level 1 qualification in Perth several years ago after she tried surfing at a women-only class. One of the surf instructors commented that she seemed to have what it takes to teach, so she decided to give it a go.

The training requirements included undertaking a required surfing rescue certificate which includes a first aid qualification and 20 hours’ practical surf coaching under a more experienced instructor.
Dekker originally started helping out at her friend Tony’s surf classes over summer, as well as working for another surf school. Now Dekker and her former instructor have the market divided between them.

“I look after the backpacker and adult learn-to-surf market and Tony manages the summer schools programs,” she says. “But we still refer clients to each other all the time, and help each other out whenever we can,” says Dekker. If you are thinking about volunteering, then organisations such as Conservation Volunteers would love to hear from you. Their mission is to attract and manage a force of volunteers in practical conservation projects for the betterment of the Australian environment.

Founded in 1982, it now employs more than 120 full-time staff and has 22 offices across the country. Projects range from Green Corp, which has overseen the planting of 13 million trees, to maintaining historic walking tracks.

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