AFTER this year’s GCSE and A-level results, The Landworkers’ Alliance, an agricultural charity, has highlighted the opportunities and difficulties associated with getting Devon’s young people into an agricultural career after finishing school.

Evidence within the report suggests that young people are still keen to pursue a career in agriculture, particularly in agroecological farming. However, some financial and practical hurdles still remain.

Agroecological farming practices aim to work with wildlife, mitigate climate change and give power to farmers and their local communities to create systems best suited to their needs.

The pathway is already proving an attractive opportunity for those who are familiar with it, as it applies many of the sustainable farming practices that UK governments are heralding as part of their post-Brexit agricultural transition plans.

There has therefore been pressure from groups such as The Landworkers’ Alliance to incorporate agroecological farming and food production into school curriculums and careers advice so that young people – including those who have just received their GCSE and A-level results – are able to consider a career in agriculture and agroecological farming when making decisions about their future.

The report’s main recommendations were to effectively integrate farming, agriculture and food production into school curriculums and career advice, create policy that enables access to land and housing, provide stronger financial support to young farmers seeking to start a business and strengthen local supply chains.

The report particularly highlights the lack of government support for new entrants in England in particular, and the Government’s failure thus far to address real barriers including access to land, employment opportunities and access to finance.

However, with a widening of opportunities in Devon and a variety of excellent institutions to pursue agriculture such as Bicton College, many young farmers are optimistic about the future of farming.

Members from Devon YFC
Members from Devon YFC (Ethan Heppell / MDA)

Rosie Bennett, Devon YFC County Chairman, said: ‘On behalf of Devon YFC I would like to congratulate all our members that received their GCSE and A-Level results this year.

‘If the result isn’t quite what you hoped for, then there is no need to worry. There are so many options available to you, especially within the agricultural industry, as there is no set path into farming.

‘We host our very own Devon YFC training courses, from tractor driving to farm administration. So, if you would like to learn something new, then please get in touch or have a look at our website.

‘We also work closely with Bicton College, as well as SKERN Training and Skills. It is definitely worth taking a look at what they offer.’