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The demand for skilled, experienced farm workers is high. Lack of flexibility and poor attitude towards less experienced candidates has had a lasting effect on the industry as a whole, which is becoming more apparent this year. The agricultural sector has a skills shortage and if you have tried to recruit this year you will have first-hand experience of the devastating consequence for your business.

Where are all the experienced tractor drivers? Where are all the dairy workers under 40?  Why are we struggling to find a suitable sprayer operator? – These are the questions recruiters like HOPS hear every day.

The problem; over the last decade British farms have been unlikely to employ applicants with less than 3 years of experience in a previous similar role.

The result; we are presented with a generation who has had limited opportunity to gain hands on farming experience.

The solution; we need to start recruiting and training candidates with less experience.

Yes, it really is that simple. The reality is that we have to take responsibility for the future and invest accordingly. The most successful businesses recruit from within and up-skill existing employees. Take a look at your existing work force and utilise anyone with the determination and drive to improve their skills. Start training them now and in 2-3 years they will be training the next generation while you focus on other areas of your business.

If you have no employees suitable for training start to think about recruiting a trainee. You are 5 times more likely to fill a vacancy if you offer training.* A trainee role is much easier, quicker and cheaper to recruit for. You then have the added benefit of teaching them your own personal way of working.

Stop working so hard to recruit and start making the situation work for you. There is a whole generation of hopeful farmers out there just waiting for an opportunity to prove themselves.

If you want to find out more about agricultural recruitment and how you can make it work for you, call Carly Goodridge-Smith on 02476 698004 for friendly advice.

*HOPS Recruitment data 2016-2018