Ag leaders commit to action to attract new talent into farming careers
More than 20 leaders from agriculture and horticulture yesterday (4 October) committed to spearheading collaborative, industry-wide action to attract more people into farming and growing careers.
The effort, initiated by The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH), is designed to encourage a coordinated approach to boosting interest in farming careers, and help the sector compete better in increasingly challenging labour markets.
The need for action was stimulated by TIAH’s recent research which highlighted low awareness and dated perceptions of the farming and growing sector in homes, in schools and among career switchers.
Lord Curry of Kirkharle, who chaired the careers roundtable in London yesterday, said: “For agriculture and horticulture to thrive, particularly in the face of labour shortages and other changes, we need a diverse range of people. While the industry must make sure that its existing workforce is suitably skilled, it is equally essential that we take the steps needed to attract and welcome new talent.
“The evidence makes it is clear that a long-term, industry-wide effort is needed if we are to achieve this.”
A framework for action comprising five pillars was shared at the meeting:
- Coordination: Developing an industry wide coordinated approach to careers
- Collaboration: Promoting ways in to farming and growing careers
- Change: Improving the perception of the ag/hort sectors, and promote the opportunities within them to a wider audience
- Capacity: Updating learning resources – link to curriculum and increase in-person contact
- Communication: Simplifying the careers messaging to careers seekers and influencers to improve overall impact
The next steps are for many of those present at the roundtable to develop the detail of industry-wide action. They will be seeking the support of others from across the agriculture and horticulture sector to do this.
TIAH Chair David Fursdon added: “We are extremely heartened by the commitment shown by industry leaders at the roundtable and we will be working together as a group to bring in more support from right across the agriculture and horticulture industry to develop and deliver a plan for action.”
Senior representatives from AHDB, CLA, Defra, LEAF and the NFU were among those who attended the TIAH Careers Roundtable.