Innovative contest aims to attract future generations to agriculture

SCHOOLS are being invited to take part in a national competition aimed at opening young people’s eyes to the world of farming and food production.

The competition run in partnership by LEAF Education and Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, which is now in its second year, is based around promoting the industry to future generations.

The theme is: ‘Drones – the farmers of the future?’. It will see secondary schools from across the UK enter the competition to win an exclusive weekend experience on a real working commercial farm at Llysfasi, near Ruthin.

Seven winning schools will be selected where students and teachers will be immersed in a range of educational and fun activities based around the college farm, including milking cows, handling lambs, visiting the animal centre, feeding calves and tractor driving.

They will also participate in a range of class-based educational activities looking at the science and technology so important to farming today.

Over the course of the weekend the schools will compete in a number of tasks, with the winner being crowned ‘Innovation School of the Year 2019 in food, farming and the environment’.

LEAF Education Director Carl Edwards said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Llysfasi again this year to run this hugely successful competition which brings young people in direct contact with farming. It was truly inspiring to see the impact this had on the students who took part last year.

“They went home, not only having had a great experience on a working farm, but with a better appreciation of the work farmers do, how their food is produced and the many exciting career opportunities available in the land-based sector.”

Iain Clarke, Head of Coleg Cambria Llysfasi added: “We have always tried to do things differently, to think outside the box and find new and exciting ways to bring farming alive for young people.

“Our partnership with LEAF Education through this national schools competition does just this. To ensure a vibrant future for the farming sector, we need to attract fresh, new minds and encourage the best people into the industry.

“This competition allows students from all backgrounds to experience farming at first hand on a real working farm; the levels of energy, engagement and enthusiasm we saw from students and teachers last year was outstanding. Indeed, following the weekend, three students changed career aspirations to land-based subjects.

“This competition is just one way Llysfasi is leading in inspiring, innovating and empowering students to succeed.”

The 2019 Food, Farming and Environment competition is for students in Key Stage 4 (14 to 16 year olds). Secondary schools wishing to apply are asked to download a questionnaire at https://education.leafuk.org/for-schools/national-food-farming-and-environment-competition-
2019. Completed questionnaires should be returned to education@leafuk.org by Friday March 15.

The winning schools will be announced week commencing 29th April 2019. The prize weekend will take place from Friday 28th June to Sunday 30th June 2019.