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Higher Education: Agriculture

Question for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

UIN 220757, tabled on 14 January 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to promote the engagement of higher education colleges with the agri-foods sector.

Answered on

26 January 2015

The Government recognises the importance of preserving and developing skills in the agri-foods sector and we are pleased to see that the number of students in agriculture-related subjects has been increasing in recent years.

We are taking an employer-led approach to skills delivery and funding.

The Agri-Tech Strategy:

• maps the funding of research by private and public sector organisations including support for studentships; and

• works alongside the Agri-Skills Forum in England to help deliver their Skills Strategy.

The Strategy can be found at

The Government has a number of initiatives to encourage employers to work with colleges and other educational bodies to ensure that we have the skills that we need as a country to compete in the global marketplace. For example, in England, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink is running a new Industrial Skills Partnership with £2m of funding from the (BIS/DfE) Employer Ownership of Skills Fund. This new industry-led partnership will take forward work across a broad front including improving the perception of jobs in the industry, creating clear career pathways and addressing specific skills shortages in the sector.

Innovate UK (sponsored by the Department) also delivers a number of programmes that allow Higher Education Institutions to work with businesses on innovative projects across all sectors, including agri-food (

Answered by

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills