With an ever growing population comes the growing demand to produce more food than ever, and on our shores, space is just one stumbling block when it comes to our agri-food industry. British farmers produce a considerable 63% of all food we consume, and this figure will naturally have to increase as our Isles become more populated.
With a current world population of 9 Billion people, increasing every year, it has been estimated that between 2010 and 2020, the agri-food industry needs an additional 52,000 people to keep up with agricultural demands, whilst activity conserving the environment and wildlife.
With more mouths to feed and less space to grow, the industry is crying out for highly talented and newly qualified individuals to spearhead a new generation of farming with ever increasing demands. Thanks to initiatives such as Bright Crop, a new generation of students are being trained to become the future pioneers of this invaluable industry, covering all areas of farming; crops, livestock, poultry and horticulture as well as specialising in engineering, marketing or administration.
The food and farming sector already employ 3.5m people in the UK which is nearly 1 in every 7 jobs, but these are often individuals with family connections to farming. Initiatives such as Bright Crop help to inspire young people from all backgrounds to consider this ever-evolving industry through connecting agri-food businesses with schools and colleges up and down the country.
Through increasing businesses’ visibility on the employment and apprenticeship markets, Bright Crop proactively inform school leavers of the diverse avenues available within the industry. From agricultural consultants to farm managers or crop specialists, the scheme aims to encourage young people to enter into a forward-thinking industry that offers high-quality training and sound job opportunities.
Bright Crop work in conjunction with independent apprenticeship schemes such as EDGE and Somerset Dairy Careers Project who offer school leavers the opportunity to start a career within agri-food through hands-on experience and training led by employers and industry specialists.
Although both Edge (East of England) and Somerset Dairy Careers Project are operating in just pockets of the UK, such industry bodies are working hard to roll out schemes nationally in an attempt to provide opportunities for the new generation in every county. This will in turn help to secure the future of a healthy and progressive agri-food industry that will go some way to ensuring food security for many years to come.