By Richard Griffiths
The BPC Seminar held yesterday (9th June) was a wonderful example of how a timely debate on a pertinent issue can generate enthusiasm and momentum.
Everyone present had a keen interest in helping ensure the poultry industry has a secure future in recruiting, training, and developing young people.
The speakers were excellent and together managed to paint a picture of a qualification and training structure where employers have a great opportunity to create bespoke and flexible solutions that fit both their business and their people.
The ability of companies and industry to adapt to change was a message that emerged from the day. It is one that successful companies are familiar with in the commercial context, but qualifications and training have been staid and static for so long that change in this arena may take some getting used to.
It was stated that the poultry sector is ahead of many others in being deeply involved in the qualifications and training network, but a massive challenge is actually in dispelling the myths about the industry and attracting young people to begin with.
A challenge that came across from a number of the speakers was that the industry must decide how it wants to use the resources already out there, such as universities and training providers, and to be creative in its vision of a training network. The industry needs to consider, for example, whether it wants dedicated poultry courses, full-time or part-time, on-site or off-site. There is often a worry that only a handful of institutions offer poultry related courses, but the sector probably doesn’t need more if it makes best use of the existing ones.
The industry already has a lot of tools at its disposal; through British Poultry Training, Apprenticeships, and Scholarships. There is a need now to extend those tools so they cover the entire production chain, and ensure that all the tools compliment and support each other.
At the close BPC Chairman, John Reed, emphasised how much work there is to do on this subject, for the industry deciding how it wants to move forward and investing in that future, for the education chain to be linked directly to the industry, and perhaps most challenging, to push our boundaries and engage directly with young people to show that the poultry industry has a good future that could be their future.