Page 39 - Farm labour in the UK
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 “I think the bottom line probably is that the industry wants efficient, reliable workers. And if these schemes can deliver efficient and reliable workers, then that would be of interest’”(Labour expert 2)
Over 14,000 people leave the armed forces every year (Gov.UK 2020c) with around 81% of those going into paid employment (Deloitte 2018). The ease with which veterans are able to find work depends upon their location, their willingness to move for work, their salary and career progression expectations, and their gender. For example, women are more likely to experience finding the right job as ‘very difficult’ compared to their male peers. Service leavers, overall, are well-supported to transition from the forces to civilian life, particularly through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). The CTP is the official provider of resettlement for service leavers, assisting ex-service people to find a new civilian job or career. It is reported that agriculture as a career is currently not well-represented by the CTP.
Numerous initiatives do exist, however, via which service leavers can find work in land-based careers, including agriculture. While most of these initiatives currently operate on a small scale, the operators perceive service leavers as highly suitable potential candidates for a career in agriculture.
“When I started to make connections in the veteran community and the service leaver sector, I realised that there are a lot of people who are interested in getting into agriculture” (Service leavers 1)
Up until recently, matching service leavers to farm positions has occurred rarely. Respondents believe that this is due to several factors, one being that there exists very little information for people in the services regarding the potential of work in agriculture.
“Fourteen thousand people a year leave the armed forces at various stages in their lives and careers and for lots of different reasons, but there is a bit of a blind spot. An awful lot of people don’t even consider [farming] because they don’t know about the huge range of careers that are available to them” (Service leavers 3)
“One of the highest skills they have got is being able to deal with a situation with the tools that are provided, which is pretty much exactly the same as if you find a cow in a river or a machine breaks or you get stuck. It is having that ability to think on their feet, stay calm in situations, and understand what is going on” (Service leavers 1)
One initiative operator described the matching of service leavers to a career in farming as a ‘match made in heaven’, a sentiment echoed by several other respondents in the study. This is due to the discipline, experience and training in abilities such as ‘thinking on your feet’ that is required of the services, as well as physical skills and training in health and safety awareness.
“Problem solving, motivation, being able to stay on task. Working on their own or working in a team. Brilliantly good communicators. I think it just maps over absolutely perfectly” (Service leavers 2)
Service leavers are known for being able to maintain calm in difficult situations, for their punctuality, dedication and reliability, and for their skills in training others.
Farm labour in the UK | Accessing the workforce the industry needs

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