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SKILLS AND TRAINING – KEY TO DAIRY’S FUTURE?


While there are only about 150,000 agricultural businesses in the UK, food and farming as a wider industry provides one in every seven of our jobs. David Cotton, chairman of Dairy Pro, is keen to see the dairy sector attract and retain the quality of people it deserves.


been lifted and now every dairy farm business is facing up to the realities of working in a largely unprotected market. So you might ask what this has to do with Dairy Pro, the dairy industry’s professional development register? In a free market, customers of the future are going to prefer working with suppliers who are on top of legislation, take environmental responsibilities seriously, invest in people and follow best practice. They will want to differentiate their product, so working with businesses which are doing things differently, better or using interesting technology will deliver a more compelling story. There’s also food safety to consider. As food entrepreneur John Taylerson said at one of our Livestock Event seminars this year: “It may not be front- of-mind, but you are producing something people put inside


O


ur industry is changing rapidly – quotas have


Carbon efficiency audits are one of the latest activities to carry Dairy Pro points.


Learning how to mobility score attracts Dairy Pro points.


themselves every day. That carries a certain responsibility and a certain risk. As supply chains become more aligned, farmers too will be increasingly visible, scrutinised and regulated. That means that those who have an influence on food safety and security will expect you to be ever-more competent, competitive and able to adapt and innovate.” It all sounds logical, but farms of all scales and systems will need the right skills and the right people to do this and here is where the problem lies. The AgriSkills Forum reported in 2010 that skills shortage vacancies in food and farming accounted for 60% of all vacancies in Scotland and 31% in England, well above the 21% average across all industries. This is particularly notable in


the dairy sector where almost every dairy farmer I know has lamented at some point that they simply cannot find people of the right quality to work in their team. However, inroads are being made. Bright Crop, launched in 2013, is an attractive information hub about careers in food and farming, and initiatives such as Food A Fact of Life promote jobs in farming as well as farming itself to school-age children. But it’s also down to farmers themselves to market the industry’s prospects and Dairy Pro can play an important role in this.


Enrolling an employee in a professional development register like Dairy Pro suggests both career path and development opportunities. People who are bright,


So rather than asking ‘why’ join Dairy Pro, I would ask, ‘why would you not’? Find out more information at www.dairypro.co.uk, or by calling: Tel: 01335 340 855


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