ALMOST 600,000 new recruits will be needed by 2020 to avoid a skills shortage in the land and environmental sectors.
They currently employ 1.3m in 230,000 businesses, but an ageing workforce and growth in some businesses will require some 595,000 new recruits in the next six years.
The Baroness Young of Old Scone gave the figures at the House of Lords launch of a Lantra report into skills shortages in the UK.
The report said employers want more from the curriculum in terms of relevant subject matter and focus on the skills needed by the industry, with the promotion of the right qualifications, training and career paths to young people and adults.
It also highlighted the need to recognise the professionalism and skills of the sector’s workforce, and the need to promote continued professional development.
It supports key national strategies which raise this, including the UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies, Defra Future of Farming Review and the implementation of the Farming Regulation Taskforce recommendations. Valerie Owen, Lantra’s chair, said: “Lantra’s work helps to both define and support the land-based and environmental industries – both strategically and at a grass roots level.
“Without essential government funding, it is ever more important that employers continue to work in partnership with Lantra to ensure the business and training needs of the sector can be met.
“This report outlines key issues for such businesses nationally, and how we plan to support employers tackling these challenges through training and qualifications, skills recording tools and information portals.”
Lantra’s work aligns with many of the industry needs: setting standards for professional and occupational competence, providing support and advice, and providing a breadth of products and services including training, qualifications and skills recording tools.
Valerie Owen said that, without essential government funding, it’s ever more important that small businesses – accounting for 95pc of the sector – continue to work in partnership with Lantra to ensure consistency and cohesion across the industries.