The poultry industry has been challenged to help showcase what is best about working in the sector in a bid to recruit more young people and avoid an impending gap in knowledge and skills.

David Yiend, chief executive of AB Agri, says producers need to prove to students, careers advisers and parents that careers in the poultry industry can be highly skilled and rewarding.

Speaking ahead of Pig & Poultry Live, Mr Yiend has urged producers to become ambassadors for the industry to promote it and pass on knowledge.

“We have to come up with ways to help ourselves,” he said. “We have a skilled, but ageing workforce and we need to share those skills with younger people before they are lost.

“If we are going to attract people, we need to be positive about poultry production and show we are a brilliant industry that is producing products we are proud of.”

Recruiting the right calibre of people was voted one of the top issues facing the sector by more than 200 visitors and delegates from previous Pig & Poultry events.

Finding ways to encourage skilled people to consider careers in poultry will be one of the subjects tackled during discussions at Pig & Poultry Live in May, organised by the Royal Agricultural Society (RASE) in partnership with ABN.

“This debate is vital to the sustainability and profitability of British poultry production,” said Mr Yiend. “Agriculture is perceived as being boring, uninteresting and low-skilled, when in fact the opposite is true.

“There is work for all abilities, particularly in the science and technology sectors where we run the risk of facing a gap in new ideas and technologies.”

Poultry producers could help tackle the issue by getting involved with schemes like Bright Crop, a new cross-industry initiative aiming to help the agricultural industry recruit 60,000 new workers over the next decade by directly targeting students, Mr Yiend added.

“Poultry producers can add their weight to the campaign by signing up to become industry ambassadors who will talk to pupils, careers advisers and parents about how rewarding careers in the poultry sector can be,” he said.

“We also want poultry producers to tell us where there is a lack of skills so we can work out how to fill the gaps. If we can take action and be positive about the future, people will want to be part of it.”

* Find out more about Bright Crop and sign up to become a poultry industry ambassador at www.brightcrop.org.uk

Pig & Poultry LIVE 2013 – returns to Stoneleigh Park on 15 May 2013 with a bigger venue and expanded event

• High profile debate – Welfare: science or perception, what’s our future?

• Networking lunch and trade exhibition

• Interactive café style discussion – Innovation in people; securing our future

For more information and to book your place, please visit www.pigandpoultry.org.uk

There are still a few places left to exhibit at this year’s event. If you wish to engage with delegates and the allied industry from across the UK, please contact Jo Illsley on 02476 858 284 

Healthy profits through happy staff

Making an effort to keep poultry farm staff motivated and creating a business they trust is key to retaining skilled employees and encouraging them to help achieve greater profits.

John Ryan, chief executive of global consulting and training company Great Place to Work, says creating a staff culture where people feel able to express ideas and opinions will create a happier workplace which employees will want to remain a part of.

Identified by poultry producers as one of the industry’s major concerns, Mr Ryan says developing trust across a business will not only help farmers maintain staff, but also ease the pressures of running a poultry enterprise.

“It is important to realise people around you can step up to the mark and have abilities if you coach and develop them.”

Trusting staff and proving they are core to the business will encourage innovation and inspire them to maximise their contribution day to day, adds Mr Ryan, who will be sharing his knowledge at Pig & Poultry Live.

“Think about how you can work together. Do you tell staff about targets for production so that everyone is focused, or share concerns so they feel part of the final goal?

“Creating a great place to work doesn’t have to be about offering fantastic salaries or great benefits. It’s about creating a place of work people can be proud of and have fun in.”

* Pig & Poultry Live will give poultry producers the opportunity to discuss a range of issues relating to people and how creative thinking can help drive their business and the industry forward.