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WHAT DID WE HEAR AT THE ROYAL AG UNIVERSITY QUESTION TIME EVENT – how to get a job in agriculture and food? by John Giles, FIAgrM

Date Published: 12/03/2019

The event at the Royal Ag University saw a panel of 5 answer a string of well made and enthusiastic questions from students about “how to get a job in agriculture and food”.

The panel consisted of Jack White from Velcourt, Tom Cackett from Savills, Nina Prichard from McDonalds, Beth Dixon from Pinstone PR, and finally, Phil Hudson from the Royal itself.

Once we got going, the questions came thick and fast and prompted a range of insightful responses from the panel - with the occasional intervention from the Chair too !

Among some of the points made to the students, included:

  • it does no harm at all to get away from the family farm and gain experience of working in other industries and organisations before maybe returning to the family business at a later date
  • gaining work experience during vacation time can be invaluable in terms of building an attractive looking CV
  • building the skills set required to establish a career in ag and food are often gained once employment has been started – no one expects you know everything from Day 1
  • aside from good technical knowledge, most employers are looking for a range of other attributes from graduates too - not least, well developed people and other “softer skills”
  • while the job market is fiercely competitive, there is a huge need for bright, talented and ambitious young people to come in to the agri food sector – there might not have been a better time than now for graduates to begin their careers

This session could have gone on for longer. Always a good sign!  Thanks to the panel for their time to come and do this and for the way they answered all the questions. And thanks to the students too for supporting this event.

This activity was organised jointly between the Institute of Agricultural Management and the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Food, Drink & Agricultural Group and is a series of similar annual events held at Reading, Harper Adams and Reaseheath College as part of the outreach programmes of both organisations.