AHDB launches skills strategy

The first ‘Skills Champions’ selected from across the agriculture spectrum to help deliver a new cross-industry skills strategy due to be launched at a high level skills summit in London, today (6 November).

The strategy has been driven by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and championed by the cross-industry AgriSkills Forum. It is the levy board’s response to recommendations, made in the recently unveiled Agri-Tech Strategy, the Future of Farming Review and by the Farming Regulation Taskforce, for AHDB to lead a more coordinated approach to skills development and the attainment of greater industry professionalism.

Aimed at promoting lifelong learning and skills on a cross-industry scale, the strategy launch is being supported with key presentations by the National Farmers Union (NFU), leading industry skills bodies Landex (Land Based Colleges Aspiring to Excellence) and LANTRA (UK Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries), as well as AHDB and government.

These industry leaders will be supported by the Skills Champions in launching the strategy and promoting its delivery on the ground. These Champions include: cattle farmers Paul Westaway and Andrew Brwer, McCain Foods associate agriculture director Graham Finn, pig farmer Tony Wright and Martin Emmett, visiting lecturer at the School of Horticulture, Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew and director of Binsted Nursery and Walberton Nursery.
The AgriSkills Forum management group finalised the strategy and its five delivery work streams following wide consultation with the industry, which was overseen by AHDB during August and September.

"Agri-food is now seen by government and others as one of the UK’s key drivers on the road to economic recovery, not only feeding a growing population but also exporting home-grown products all over the world," said management group chairman Richard Longthorp.

"This new-found economic importance is characterised by farm businesses and professionals that are vibrant, dynamic, driven by science, technology and innovation and, most critically, are highly skilled and motivated."

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