Agri industry needs to do more for school leavers

Agri industry needs to do more for school leavers

Despite the much publicised need for more people and a wealth of exciting opportunities for young people thinking of a career in the agricultural industry, food and farming still has a long way to go to raise its profile with school leavers.

This was proven last week when the East of England Agricultural Society attended the Mission Possible Careers Show at the Peterborough Arena.

Organised by the Skills Service, Mission Possible is targeted at young people aged 14-24. This year around 5,000 visitors from 38 schools across the region attended with the aim of finding inspiration for their future careers from over a wide range of exhibitors and industries.

In the dedicated Agrifood Zone, Bakkavor, British Sugar, East of England Agricultural Society, Greenvale, Karsten, National Centre for Food Manufacturing, and Tulip Ltd represented the regions entire food and farming industries.

“This event has been a real eye opener, when talking to the students and asking them if they know what opportunities and options there were in the agricultural industry, many didn’t know but significantly they were interested to find out. Surprisingly this also applied to teachers and careers advisors. We need to take responsibility and urgent action, as agriculture is losing out to better organised sectors, in part because we have no unified industry body actively promoting agriculture.

Many large companies offer graduate programmes which suit those coming with a university background, but there is a lack of information about our industry for students to identify career paths and alternative routes including modern apprenticeship.” says William Haire, Agricultural Development Manager for the East of England Agricultural Society.

Keen to develop ideas the East of England Agricultural Society will continue to engage with schools, teachers, local government and councils to gather information which will be used to plan future programmes and resources to ensure students are made aware of what agriculture can offer them.

For more information about the East of England Agricultural Society please contact William Haire, Agricultural Development Manager, East of England Agricultural Society WHaire@eastofengland.org.uk 01733 234451

Also the Skills Service on www.theskillsservice.co.uk

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