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Horticulture: Staff

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 125154, tabled on 18 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with officials in (a) Department for Education and (b) horticultural sector on working together to secure a high-quality domestic labour supply for that sector.

Answered on

7 March 2022

Attracting bright new talent into agricultural and horticultural careers and having a skilled workforce in place is vital for the future of UK food and farming. By raising awareness of agriculture as an exciting and attractive career path, people will understand the opportunities available to them.

The Government is contributing towards the establishment of a new professional body, The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH). This initiative is aimed at removing the fragmentation that exists within current learning and skills landscape for farming businesses, enabling the industry to drive forward greater uptake of skills, creating clear career development pathways and promoting the sector as a progressive, professional and attractive career choice.

The Government is reforming post-16 technical education to provide clearer routes into skilled employment in agriculture and other sectors. A key part of this is the introduction of the new Technical Level programmes (T-levels). Alongside apprenticeships, these provide more opportunities and pathways for young people looking for careers in horticulture.

Defra continues to speak regularly with the sector and other Government departments, including the Department for Education, to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the horticultural workforce.