Time to improve skills and education across agricultural sector, say top rural organisations

11 Feb 2019

The Three Counties Showground wants to shine a spotlight on skills and education across the agricultural sector after revealing a new partnership with the prestigious Royal Agricultural University (RAU).

The leading university will become the Three Counties Showground’s first ever official agricultural educational partner, in a move that both parties hope will help to tackle the skills shortage across the sector.

The RAU specialises in courses in agriculture, animal science, business, environment, equine science, farm management, food, real estate and rural land management.

Diana Walton, head of shows at the Three Counties Showground, said she was excited at the possibilities the three-year partnership could bring.

We’re delighted that the RAU has come on board as our official agricultural educational partner,” said Diana.

“Our main charitable aim as an organisation is to educate and we’ve really put an emphasis on that over the past few years. This partnership with the world-renowned RAU will allow us to take it to the next level.

Education will play a huge part in the future of farming, from upskilling the current workforce to educating the next generation of farmers.

“Nothing happens fast in farming and the industry is dogged by the perception that you have to be born into farming to have a career in agriculture - that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Farming offers massive educational opportunities, from qualifications in business management, nutrition, and technology to seed production and environmental issues.

“We want to be at the forefront of redressing the skills balance, and we believe that thanks to the RAU partnership, we can provide a great platform to help.

“We’re looking forward to playing our part by providing valuable mentoring and work experience opportunities for RAU students, and to help educate our members, show goers and the wider farming community.”

Professor Joanna Price, Vice-Chancellor at the Royal Agricultural University said:

“The RAU is delighted to be the Three Counties Showground’s first official agricultural education partner.

“We look forward to supporting the Three Counties events – which began recently with a very successful Careers Show, demonstrating the range of opportunities available to people in the land-based sectors.

Education and upskilling has never been more important for the land-based sector than it is now - Brexit has turned the spotlight on UK agriculture and the need for increased productivity, while sustaining the environment for future generations.

“Technology, data science and innovation will play key roles in meeting these challenges. However, there is widespread recognition that there is a skills shortage in the agrifood sector and that more needs to be done both to attract talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds to address this.

“The partnership between the RAU and the Three Counties, will help redress this balance, as we work together to raise awareness of the opportunities to a much wider audience.”

The Three Counties Showground plays host to several major events in the agricultural calendar, including the Heart of England’s premier agricultural show, the Royal Three Counties Show, from June 14-16, and the Three Counties Farming Conference (Nov 14), which sees 400 farmers from across Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire every November.

It also offers the younger generation the chance to get a close taste of farming at its annual Countrytastic event (April 18) and gives the farmers of the future the chance to shine at its National Young Stars competition (August 20-21).