Skills & Talent
Attracting and retaining talent and supporting opportunities for innovation in the food system requires a focus on skills.
Gloucestershire is well placed to support skills development with its concentration of universities, colleges, business incubators and new agri-tech innovation hubs. In addition there are several collaborative and community initiatives focused on widening access and upskilling within these sectors.
The food supply chain is an exciting, growing and rapidly changing industry, with opportunities for varied interests and talent across its whole spectrum. Gloucestershire loses too much of its young talent, who move to build their lives outside the County and take with them their valuable skills and a passion that could so powerfully be harnessed to build and champion the transformation required in the Gloucestershire food & farming system.
It is nationally recognised that perception challenges exist around careers in agriculture and food, and entry to this sector should not be perceived as the preserve of agricultural institutions alone or as solely temporary low paid work. There is much to be done to promote the breadth of opportunity and entry avenues to the sector from multiple backgrounds, interest areas and levels. The task is to inspire and support new and current entrants alike.
Access to land for new entrant growers links to conversations of land access that requires debate. That said, The Gloucestershire Regenerative Environment and Agricultural Transition (GREAT) Project and FarmED, amongst others, have support available for a range of entrants at different stages in their journey. Building a community for new entrants is something the GFFP wishes to support and champion, alongside working to turn heads towards opportunities in the sector in the first place.
Work is being developed through the GFirst LEP Agri-Food and Rural Business Group to consider future skills provision so that we can overcome skill gaps in the County.