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From the editor: Farming needs a skills drive in order to attract right talent

Agriculture has always been an industry in which many farmers feel they do not need a piece of paper to prove they are proficient and professional at what they do.

It is a sector which often puts practical experience and attitude over formally recognised qualifications, or even degree level education.

 

And while there is some truth to be had in that approach, the professional world is changing at a rapid pace and the next generation of farm workers and potential leaders are becoming increasingly motivated by the training and qualifications on offer within their chosen career.

 

All this makes the article looking at The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture so timely.

 

Lord Curry has campaigned on this issue of formal recognition of professional competencies for many years and he is right to lead calls for greater acknowledgement of skills within the sector.

Whether it is emerging from the NFU’s next generation scheme, the National Sheep Association ambassadors programme, or even the recent Louise Hartley Memorial Fund webinar that Farmers Guardian hosted, there is a clear demand from many within the sector to be able to gain formal recognition of their farming skills.

 

And who can blame them? No career path is ever smoothly plotted out, but in agriculture it is too often the case that highly skilled and competent employees can become cut adrift from the wider labour market because they have no formal CV or list of qualifications to back up their experience.

 

For many employers the growing demand for qualifications and training will come as a challenge, especially as many smaller businesses are concerned that, if they put time and money into training, their employees could simply up and leave once they reach a certain level.

 

But this is something the industry must shake off and realise that with a new generation will come a much more mobile workforce and while there might be challenges when it comes to retention, there will also be recruitment opportunities for those offering the right packages.

 

Nothing stays the same and farming careers are certainly testament to that.

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