Farmers and other industry stakeholders are being urged to comment on plans to attract more people into agriculture.
The draft skills strategy was presented to DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn by farm leaders during an industry summit in London on Tuesday (24 November). New skills are needed, says the document, while farming must be promoted as a worthwhile career.
Recent estimates suggest that farming must recruit 60,000 new entrants over the next decade. Yet job vacancies are proving hard to fill because the sector continues to be perceived as unattractive.
The strategy was developed by the AgriSkills Forum, an industry group which includes Lantra, the sector skills council for the land-based sector. Other representatives include the NFU and key industry employers.
“A strong, productive and sustainable agricultural industry is essential because of its contribution towards food security, sustaining the environment and safeguarding the landscape,” says the document.
Forum chairman and Yorkshire farmer Richard Longthorp said farming should be recognised for its professionalism and valued as an attractive career choice.
“We must do all we can to encourage people of all ages to be attracted to agriculture and land-based management as an exciting career.”
Lantra director Madge Moore said: “It’s clear there’s a need to address the skills of both employers and employees and this strategy goes a long way towards addressing that. It is vital that more people within the industry understand the aims of the strategy and are prepared to get behind it.”
It is anticipated that a final strategy will be launched in spring 2010. To comment on the draft, visit click here.