Shaping the future of Food and Farming
WWOOF UK’s attention has recently been drawn to EDGE Apprenticeships in Food and Farming. This industry-led scheme aims to Educate, Develop, Grow and Employ young people, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed.
Since they began in April 2013, EDGE has matched over 260 apprentices in successful placements. There are now EDGE apprentices working in all areas of food and farming, from horticulture to livestock, and EDGE is keen to make further steps in organic farming.
Whilst the project began in Norfolk and Suffolk and is now concentrated mainly in the East of England (Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire and Essex) the team is willing to offer assistance to those wanting to set up apprenticeships elsewhere.
EDGE works with both employers and apprentices. Work with the employers consists of advertising their apprenticeship vacancies, assisting them through the interview process and then with the financial elements that come with taking on an apprentice. They also assist young people who are looking for apprenticeships and help to match them with relevant employers. The apprentices then spend one day a week at a training provider, either Easton & Otley College or Poultec.
EDGE is passionate about encouraging the younger generation to consider careers in food and farming and work with young people between the ages of 16 and 24. Apprenticeships enable young people to earn money while learning and gain valuable work experience and an industry-recognised qualification. Apprenticeships are also a great way for employers to train a young person to become a competent employee who can fit perfectly within a team. Their hope is that apprenticeships are helping to train the young generation and secure the future of the food and farming industry.
EDGE is also helping to raise the profile of food and farming in general, by training industry ambassadors to visit schools and youth groups in order to share their firsthand experience of working in agriculture. More than eighty ambassadors have been trained across the East of England.
EDGE Project Co-ordinator Ann Steward said: ‘Getting the message out to young people about how many opportunities there are in the food and farming sector is essential. Having real people, who can talk about real jobs, is invaluable and it’s the perfect way to educate young people about career options.’
To find out more about becoming an ambassador, and for details of the latest vacancies through EDGE, visit www.edgeapprenticeships.org or call 01603 881966.