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.
The LEP Agrifood & Rural Business Group has made a skills action plan a strategic focus with a sub group dedicated to developing this work.
Initiatives to inspire and support new and current entrants include Emergent Generation, a new ecosystem of young people (18-30 yrs) passionate about building farming & food systems that nourish people and regenerate the planet. GFFP partner, FarmED helped
to build this new network. Hartpury and RAU run student industry events and the Gloucestershire Regenerative Environment and Agricultural Transition (GREAT) Project has initiated the New Farmers Network to support new entrant farmers and growers on their agroecological and regenerative journey. Amongst others, they are growing the support available for a range of entrants at different stages. Showcasing opportunities for new entrants is an area GFFP seeks to champion.