It was predicted that by October 31st 2011 there would be 7 billion people
living on the planet and they were right.
In fact you can watch them being born here http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/7-billion
That’s 7 billion plus people who need feeding and clothing and housing.
Can there be anything nobler than waking up every day committed to growing and supplying these basic needs in the most affordable, nutritious and ethically produced way
Yet agriculture struggles to attract and retain talented young people into the agrifood sector See http://www.agrifoodskills.net.au/publications/scan/2011/
Why do we struggle?
Well there has been a lot of talking about the problem, a lot of writing about the problem and a lot of suggestions put forward.
Recently the RASV undertook a study and came up with four recommendations which included
- Involve young leaders in the planning and delivery of initiatives
- Consider the need for imagery and promotion of opportunities to help young people make connection between themselves (skills, personality, interests) and career opportunities in the agriculture sector (given the disconnect between urban and rural).
Art4Agriculture is very proud to say we have been walking the talk with our Young Farming Champions program
Quick overview of the program here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtgdYV8_UnQ
Young Farming Champions on YouTube
Young Farming Champions on SlideShare
The RASV report also drew attention once again to the fragmented industry culture that is undermining agriculture’s efforts to get on the front foot with respect to attraction and retainment strategies
“To date, the attempts in the agricultural sector to increase the participation of young people in the agricultural workforce have been without substantial success and have been too fragmented, local and small scale. This is not to undermine the fantastic work that has been achieved, but highlights the need for large scale and well
“A collaborative industry approach, comprising contribution from all commodity groups with the support of government and education, is essential to engaging young people on a large enough scale to remedy existing shortfalls.”
I sound like as broken record but it has to be said and said and said again. When will industry recognise silo thinking is destroying agriculture’s future? We cannot
do this alone.
This year Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions worked side by side with Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia and Cotton Australia to deliver their food and fibre industry education resources to schools and didn’t we kick goals
The RASV also highlighted the need for a “one stop “portal” to understanding the opportunities that exist for a diverse range of people and skills. Information is too
scattered, job-search focused and not specifically targeted at young people and
early career workers.
It is difficult for urban people who are disconnected from rural and regional (Australia) .. to access information and understand the incentives of taking up careers in agriculture. For young people who are already connected to agriculture, there is a similar lack of assistance to help them discover the appeal and support
for them entering tertiary study or tailored career pathways”.
Well this has changed and excitingly the Australian Council of Agricultural Deans has addressed this with their newly launched awesome website.
Career Harvest – job choices in agriculture, fisheries & forestry found here http://www.csu.edu.au/special/acda/careers/
We are also thrilled to announce a number of the Art4Agriculture Young Farming
Champions will be speaking and conducting workshops at the Careers Advisors Australia Annual Conference this month. The conference theme is The
Great Divide – City and Country. Working the Land – Careers in Agriculture.
Highly concerning however is the fact the conference coordinator tells me city school conference registration numbers are down. When she asked Careers Advisors why they said “careers in agriculture aren’t relevant to my students”.
Frightening for the world in general especially the 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night when city based careers advisers don’t think careers in agriculture are relevant.
This is a big problem and the need is now to address it. The onus is on primary industry, agribusiness and the government and education sectors to initiate a culture of change in this area by taking a collaborative approach and partnering to address this issue and achieve the necessary outcomes. The health wealth and happiness of
the nation depends on it