Herm faces staff shortages

  • Video report by Kate Prout

Businesses in Herm are experiencing the same serious staffing problems faced across the Channel Islands.

However, visitor numbers appear to be up for this point in the season.

Martin Petit, who operates the Isle of Herm ferry, says a difference can be seen now that restrictions have been lifted.

"There are workers going over, staff are able to come back and forth. There are quite a lot of visitors." With the island opening back up, businesses are now facing the issue of recruiting staff for the busy summer season.

Seasonal workers are recruited to live and work on the island for six months.

Many businesses have altered the people they recruit and are now targeting 18 to 30 year old's from the North West of England.

Tom Jones, Herm's Head of Hospitality, explained that Brexit has impacted staff levels, and bringing staff over from further afield is not financially viable for small businesses.

"The shortage is the Eastern European market, we used to reply heavily on that and there isn't the availability anymore.

"This whole Kenya thing, there are a lot of people available, so that's an area we are exploring. But we haven't budgeted for that. It's about £4000 per candidate and we're not that big a business" However, retail businesses on the rock have had better luck with recruitment. Shop owner, Becky McDonald said: "We've had lots of interest from far afield. I've just employed a man from the Isle of Skye who is really looking forward to coming down here.

"I've also taken on a lady from Nairn in Scotland but we've had interest from all over." In the quieter months, many businesses use the time to carry out ongoing repairs and refurbishments on the island.

James Hastings, Herm's Services Manager, said: "We're looking at water pressure and drainage for the island and we're looking at our electricity supply, which currently comes from our generators.

"We're looking further down the line at introducing solar power."

The island's campsite has also been expanded for the upcoming season, hosting their first visitors from Easter.