Anticipating a need to fill thousands of high-skilled posts in farming and other related industries such as engineering and science in the coming years, DEFRA, the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on the environment, food and rural affairs, has launched The Future of Farming review, an innovative program designed to encourage young people to work in the food and farming industries.
As part of the drive, DEFRA is launching a twitter competition inviting people to to tweet what they think are the key barriers facing their future in farming meet the hashtag #meetfm. Five winning young people will have the opportunity to meet Heath and discuss the issues.
The Future of Farming review, is a joint effort between DEFRA and the agriculture industry that will investigate how to improve access for talented youth into these industries. This is because of demand for growth caused by a rising world population, increasing demand for western-style diets and the need to reduce the environmental impact of food production. Heath said:
“With rising world population, Britain has a massive opportunity to grow and export more food, and to do so sustainably. So we need to encourage new blood into the industry”
The Future of Farming review will investigate opportunities and barriers faced by new entrants into the industry and look to improve access for talented, entrepreneurial young people by making it a more attractive career choice.
Issues to be covered include:
- Future workforce and skills needs of the industry
- Different entry routes into farming, such as buying property, tenancy, share farming, contracting, farm management, employment, apprenticeship
- Wider opportunities that are offered in agriculture, such graduate schemes in science, engineering and research
- The challenges facing new entrants such as lack of training, access to land, access to capital
- The challenge facing employers in finding the right people, such as the image of the industry
A report outlining initial findings is expected to be published during the summer of 2013.