Future of Skills launch at OFC


The NFU's Next Generation Forum and AHDB today hosted a fringe event at the prestigious Oxford Farming Conference to help launch a new multi-agency vision to transform the skills landscape.

At the well attended event, NFU’s Simon Gadd and Oli Lee outlined an exciting vision they have been working on as Vice Chairs of the Agriculture and Horticulture Skills Leadership Group (SLG). This is a multi-organisation partnership that aims to create a single industry backed body with a smart user-friendly online portal to support and develop lifelong learning. The ambition is to finally put an end to the complex and fragmented nature of the current skills landscape. The importance of this was reinforced at the start of the session, when an interactive voting activity saw the majority of attendees describe the current skills and learning landscape as fragmented.

NFU’s Next Generation Forum Chair Simon Gadd commenting before the event explained:

"What we aim to do is create a single point of access for careers advice, training opportunities and employer and employee support for new and existing entrants. In turn, we believe the industry will be a more productive and desirable place to work, attracting and retaining a more skilled, competent and motivated workforce."

Having outlined this vision at the event, the interactive session, which was designed as an informal ‘question time’ style debate, led on to a discussion with invited panellists before questions were taken from the floor. Each of the panellists represented a different perspective. John Shropshire, Chairman of G’s Fresh was on the panel as a large industry employer and was joined by John Charles-Jones, NFU Council delegate and arable farmer representing the more typical smaller to medium size enterprise. Last, but not least Oli and Simon were also joined by innovative dairy farmer Karen Halton who having returned to the industry after working in recruitment was able to give the perspective of a returning entrant.

An avalanche of questions was asked by the audience which were answered by Simon and Oli. By the end of the session, 97% of the audience felt the vision should be taken forward. Similarly the most popular description of how the audience would like the industry and its people to be seen in future was that they wanted it to be recognised as professional.

If anybody has any further questions about the project you are welcome to get in touch and the SLG team will endeavour to respond (please see the link at the bottom of the page).

The following video was shown at the event:

Guy Smith, Deputy President of the NFU and party to the SLG said:

“The event was a good opportunity to discuss how British farmers can meet the challenges of tomorrow by taking a lifelong approach to learning. What we need now is for everyone in the industry who is interested in this vision to get behind the idea and support it.”

To that end, if you were there or like the idea having read this article, please register your support here.
Fans of social media can also further spread the word using the following social media details: