Teenagers ‘disconnected’ from farming but keen on ag career

More than a third of teenagers would consider a career in food and farming but struggle to find relevant information about how to achieve this and what it involves, says a new study.

A 12-month research programme commissioned by LEAF Education and supported by Rothamsted Research aimed to encourage better teenage engagement with farming.

More than 1,000 12- to 18-year-olds across the UK were surveyed and 60 young people were interviewed at a recent Teenager Empowerment event.

The research revealed that teenagers feel disconnected from farming and have limited understanding of what it offers, but many are interested in how their food is produced and the work farmers do.

In particular, they hold strong views about the environmental impact of farming and they would like to know more about career opportunities available in the sector.

See also: 14 ways to make a good first impression with an ag employer

Carl Edwards, LEAF Education director, said: “Engaging young people in farming and food production is vital to the future of the agricultural industry as well as for their own health and wellbeing.

“We know that strengthening that connection can help promote healthier lifestyles and nurture a lifelong interest in the natural world, helping to build a sense of their own personal responsibility in protecting it.”

Following the results of the research programme, LEAF Education plans to draw up a new teenager outreach plan in consultation with the agri-food industry, focusing on five priority areas: outdoor inspiration, community hub, fit for life, farming futures and careers and let’s connect.

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See highlights from last year’s Ag Careers Live.