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Agri-Food Careers
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. outlines the work underway to
attract and retain talent along the food chain
With over 174,000 jobs, the agri-food sector in Ireland
continues to be a major employer in our economy.
Accounting for around 8% of all employment, the sector is
one which offers a huge breadth of careers, from farming
to food processing all the way up to sales, marketing and
much more. These jobs are crucial to balanced regional
development as many are located in rural and costal
locations. This was recognised when the current 10-
year strategy for the sector, Food Wise 2025, was being
developed, as human capital is one of its five key themes.
Food Wise 2025 highlights the need for the attraction,
retention and development of skills and talent right
along the food supply chain and over 50 actions were
included to address this ambition. Since its launch in
2015, all stakeholders, including my Department and
the State Agencies under my responsibility, have been
actively pursuing the implementation of those actions
and they are making a valuable contribution to improving
the attractiveness of our sector as one in which to have a
career, as well as developing the skill set of those already
working in agri-food.
There are many examples of these efforts, such as: the roll
out of an Applied Leaving Certificate course in agriculture;
the updating of the report by the Expert Group on Future
Skills Needs in the Food and Drink sector; the publication
of an action plan to address a range of labour and human
capital issues on dairy farms (People In Dairy), which
will make that career more attractive. Teagasc have
published its `Education Vision' initiative, which includes
a commitment to training students to be entrepreneurs
of the future; helping students to acquire competencies
rather than qualifications; and a commitment to the
development of a portfolio of Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) courses.
Bord Bia has launched its 2019 talent development
programme, providing a range of exciting opportunities
for both graduates and Irish food companies, on themes
ranging from sustainable to supply chain management and
international marketing. Projects like this are crucial in
terms of providing career options for graduates from agri-
food and related courses; and this feeds back into making
the sector more attractive for secondary level students
choosing a career path.
Ireland's recent economic successes cannot be taken for
granted and the best way to address the challenges we
face is through planning and strategic action. A whole
of Government medium-term plan has been developed,
Future Jobs Ireland, which will have successive chapters
across the course of its lifetime. It has been developed
in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders to
ensure that Ireland is ahead of the curve in understanding
and responding to the future decarbonised economic
Ireland's future economy and workplace will be different.
We need to ensure that: we increase productivity,
particularly in SMEs; that we have the right environment
to increase labour market participation; that we have
planned ahead to ensure Ireland can deliver the right
skills in line with enterprise needs of the future; that we
can maximise our role as we transition to a decarbonised
economy; and that we innovate, leveraging technological
change in a digital economy.
These apply to all sectors of the economy, including
agriculture, food and the marine, especially in areas such
as digitalisation and the bio and circular economies.
Future Jobs Ireland what it means for the Agri-
culture, Food and Marine Sector
Future Jobs foresees Ireland being positioned as a leading
pioneer in technology application. There are already many
great examples of this in action across the agriculture,
food and marine sector, for example; WIT, Teagasc and
the Irish Farmers Association have been chosen as part
of a 20 million SmartAgriHubs project. The hubs will be
a way for farmers, advisors and agritech SMEs to engage
with research centres to develop new technologies for
the sector. Future Jobs Ireland envisages developing new
and existing demonstrator sites to trial new technologies
and business solutions. Areas may include digital
technologies in agriculture, particularly those that can