Page 44 - Farm labour in the UK
P. 44

 the fact that the majority of veterans would not consider moving for a job opportunity, and that they place significant value on jobs offering work/life balance with opportunities for career progression, not necessarily attributes associated with a career in agriculture.
Issues reported to have been experienced by some initiatives so far include a lack of organisation or mismanagement, initiative profiles not being sufficiently established to gain levels of funding required, poor financing strategies inhibiting effective delivery of the programme, and a lack of network and/or connections.
“It needs a lot of work and that is why it hasn’t been done before, because it is actually very difficult” (Service leavers 3)
The UK is believed by some respondents to be behind a number of other countries where such initiatives are already in place and proving successful.
“In terms of career change into agriculture the US is streets ahead. I think in this country, as we’ve discussed, we are missing a trick” (Service leavers 3)
Due to the skills, experience and career expectations held by service leavers upon departing the armed forces, it is unlikely that they would contribute significantly to filling the seasonal worker shortfall expected to occur in the coming years. However, for more permanent, skilled and managerial positions, they hold the potential to be excellent recruits to the industry.
Example of initiatives matching service leavers with employment opportunities in farming include:
7 This number varies across England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as prisons are devolved.
“You need to believe that good people can do bad things and it’s ridiculous to throw them on a scrapheap for life and assume that they’re worthless and they’ve got nothing to offer. Some people do deserve a second chance” (Ex-offenders 2)
The current prison population in the UK stands at just under 90,000 people, with each prison place costing at least £30,0007 per person per year (Sturge 2020). Approximately 60,000 prisoners are released every year (Gov.UK 2020b) with a reoffending rate of roughly 30% in the first 12 months. Leaving prison can be extremely challenging for prisoners, as they try to find housing, employment and attempt to rebuild their lives. Entering employment as an ex- offender can not only be difficult but also daunting for

   42   43   44   45   46