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24 February 2018 | Online since 2003


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13 February 2018 08:11:18 |Education,News

MP who calls for agriculture GCSE says industry in 'serious need' of fresh talent


Conservative MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy called for a GCSE in Agriculture last week (Photo: Parliament.UK)

Conservative MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy called for a GCSE in Agriculture last week (Photo: Parliament.UK)

The MP who called for the introduction of a GCSE in agriculture has said the industry is in "serious need" to encourage fresh talent into the sector.
Conservative MP for York Outer and ex-farmer, Julian Sturdy, led a debate in Parliament last week calling on the government to introduce a GCSE in agriculture.
He said the course could help create a "better skilled and more productive workforce" for Britain.
Speaking in the The Times, he said pupils can currently study for GCSEs in geology, astronomy, business and psychology, but not farming.
"Surely they should also be able to learn about farming at the earliest possible opportunity, given how essential it is for putting food on everyone’s tables, and managing our landscapes and natural environment," Mr Sturdy said.
He said the average age of a farmer is 59 in the United Kingdom, so there is a "serious need" to encourage fresh talent into the sector.
'Rapid pace'
The North Yorkshire MP also said agricultural methods are changing at a "rapid pace", with an increased emphasis on technology, and that the government should be "looking to engage" young people with these advances.
"A school leaver entering the farming sector in the next few years could expect to use GPS technologies to harvest wheat, driverless tractors, drones to deliver herbicide to weeds on a precision basis, grow wheat with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and new technologies that will drive up animal welfare, such as robotic milking parlours," he added.
The government has introduced an expansion to vocational and technical education in the form of T-levels as an alternative to A-levels, which will provide young people the chance to study hands-on training.
However, Mr Study said: "If we are truly to establish the parity of esteem necessary to seriously boost take-up of the vocational and technical route, this option needs to be offered to pupils at the first point they select the qualifications they will take — at GCSE level."
The majority of British people believe the public need to learn more about the origins of their food, new research has revealed.





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