COUNCIL INQUIRY: Schools say farmers should do more to encourage young people into their industry

Farmers need to be more proactive in encouraging young people into their industry, according to education bosses.

At the inquiry on Thursday, National Farmers Union chairman of the national board for horticulture and potatoes Sarah Dawson questioned the educational establishments career advice and encouragement in the sector.

She said: “We are trying to encourage school leavers to engage with the farming industry.

“It’s an extremely technical industry compared to what it was ten years ago, even driving a tractor you have got mostly IT equipment.”

Adrian Reed said he had interviewed a large number of students at his school and found none currently wanted agricultural work.

Boston College principal Amanda Mozek said she had found similar results. However, both said that when they had tried to reach out to the sector to talk to students or offer apprenticeships and work placements, they had found it difficult.

Mrs Mozek said: “When we hold careers events at the college we really struggle to get anybody from the agriculture or farming to come along.”

If someone came along offering to speak to the children she said: “We would absolutely snap your hands off. You need to get young people to be ambassadors and we would teach them to come in and offer us classes”

The comments follow a previous inquiry hearing into immigration and employment when farmers claimed native Bostonians wouldn’t do agricultural jobs and had a lack of enthusiasm for the sector.