Shropshire Star

Carving out careers in the Shropshire countryside

A Shropshire talent spotter says it’s important for businesses to broaden their horizons to bring in new talent to the rural sector.

Cattle in the fields above a golden autumn woodland valley

Many young people who might once have opted for jobs based on or around the land are choosing careers in towns and cities instead.

But Mark Scott, talent and recruitment partner for the rural and projects division at Savills, says there’s a determination to attract more into rural sectors.

“People choosing careers in towns could be to do with the squeeze on farming revenue and profits, and unhelpful misconceptions such as a lack of land availability and the often-quoted figure of 59 as the average age of the UK farmer,” said Mark.

“It’s also due to a lack of awareness about training and job opportunities and an absence of new ideas for attracting talent from outside the industry. As a result, it’s our contention that people without a rural background don’t necessarily know that it’s possible to pursue a wide range of interesting, rewarding and valuable careers in the countryside.

“Until recently, we, in common with many other rural businesses, concentrated our recruitment drives for graduates on the main agricultural universities. Over the years, we’ve built up strong links with these institutions that supply many candidates for our apprenticeship, trainee schemes and graduate trainee schemes.

“But today there are more roles in the rural sector than there are people to fill them.” In a bid to resolve this, we’ve broadened our approach, reaching out to schools, mainstream colleges and universities, and armed forces resettlement schemes, for example, to raise awareness, encourage diversity and to build a sustainable pipeline of people to work in the industry in the future.

“The next generation has the ability not only to bring new energy but also fresh ideas and new ways of working. If we want an industry with confident, resilient individuals then that needs to be nurtured, ideally from a young age when pupils are making subject and early career choices.

“There’s no one single route to working in the countryside; the challenge for the sector is to light as many paths as possible.”

During 2022, Savills welcomed 162 new joiners to its Rural and Projects division, including graduates, trainees and apprentices.

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