New food recruitment drive

The government has launched an initiative to get more young people working in the food and farming sectors under the guise of the Future of Farming Review.

The scheme was unveiled today by the farming minister David Heath in a bid to promote careers in the farming, food engineering and food science industries. Thousands of high-skilled posts will need to be filled in these sectors in the coming years, he said.

According to the government, there is huge potential for growth in the food sectors due to the rising global population and increasing demand for Western-style diets around the world. Heath also pointed out that there was a need to reduce the environmental footprint of food production.

Together with the agriculture industry, the Future of Farming Review will look at how improved access can be offered to “new talent”, entrepreneurial young people, as well as how to make a career in the industry can be made more attractive.

Heath is also launching a Twitter competition for five young people to meet with him and discuss issues surrounding the employment of young people within the sector.

Speaking ahead of the Oxford Farming Conference, which starts tomorrow, Heath said: “With a 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. I’m not just talking about giving people more access to land or getting them on production lines, but allowing youngsters to really embrace new ideas and technology for rewarding, well-paid careers.”

The Future of Farming Group will be led by the chairman of the South West Rural and Farming Network David Fursdon, who said: “Producing food more sustainably is a huge challenge and we can only hope to meet it by having the right people entering the industry.

“To make this happen, we want to listen to young people’s experiences to make sure the right people are entering the industry and have the support to establish their businesses. I’m looking forward to pushing on with this work and building on the work already being carried out within industry to come up with some new ideas.”

Areas the Future of Farming Group will look at include the future workforce and skills needed for the industry; various entry routes into the industry; the wider opportunities offered within the industry; the challenges faced by new entrants; and the challenges of those finding the right people to employ.

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