AHDB has taken on management of the Bright Crop careers initiative, as of the beginning of September.

The move is part of a wider AHDB review of its role in addressing the industry skills shortage and complements its existing work on agricultural apprenticeships and school-level education.

It marks an enhanced commitment to “help ensure the agriculture and horticulture industries are able to develop and attract workers with the skills needed to operate effectively.”

A 2015 government report* showed the agri-food industry has five times more skilled trade jobs than other UK industries and these roles are generally three times more difficult to fill.

AHDB chief executive, Jane King, said: “We recognise the food and farming sectors can do more to improve their image with young people making decisions about their careers. Ensuring the industry attracts the brightest of the next generation is vital to its long-term viability.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be looking at where and how we can capitalise on opportunities to show young people our industry is exciting, progressive and sophisticated, offering a range of rewarding and fulfilling career options.”

Previously, Bright Crop was run by FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) and partly funded by AHDB, with additional sponsors from across the agri-food supply chain.

It has promoted careers in the food and farming industry through careers events, school visits, web and press activity, with the support of 380 ambassadors.

Ian Pigott, chair of FACE, said: “The farming and agri-food industry is an ambitious and thriving sector. It is imperative that we inspire and connect our leaders, workforce and consumers of tomorrow. I am delighted that AHDB will be carrying on the excellent work of FACE and driving Bright Crop forward for our future success.”

Katie Garner – who has been responsible for running the programme – has been welcomed to the AHDB team as part of the transfer.

David Yiend, who chairs the Bright Crop steering group, said: “We are delighted with the progress that Bright Crop has made as a cross-industry initiative. We believe now, with the reorganisation of AHDB, this is the right place for Bright Crop to sit to ensure it remains firmly linked with the customer-base on behalf of which it is working.”

For more, visit www.brightcrop.org.uk