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Working towards a new young professional in ARD

YPARD is engaging on a new study to contribute to the agricultural curriculum debate.  We want to find out the new skill sets that are required of young professionals in ARD, contributing specifically with the voice of the youth! 

Agriculture is changing, and with it, a revised set of skills is needed to address new challenges in agriculture. A number of prominent documents point to professionals in Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) with different characteristics than the ones universities ‘develop’ at present. The ‘new professional’ should, for example, be better able to work across different disciplines and in partnership with different stakeholders.  YPARD is aiming to contribute to the agricultural curriculum reform discussion by developing a series of profiles of the ‘new’ future young professional starting a career in ARD.  This scenario tool will inform educational policy makers to modify the ‘recipe’ to enable educational institutions to ‘produce’ a young professional that can contribute to a sustainable and effective ARD with a more relevant set of skills. 

This study intends to contribute to the debate on change in formal higher agricultural education.  Key documents in ARD will be consulted to provide a set of guidelines for the development of new profiles and will be supported by discussions with expert groups and with feedback from youth networks.  This will enable the study to capture aspirations of young people, assess the degree to which their expectations of education are being met and which skills would enable them to be more effective or obtain a desired role in their field.  Experts in the field will also be consulted on those skills that they see as having increasing importance.  With these consultations, experts will also be asked to commit to making room for those young professionals with said skills, to make sure that these skills are consistent with the way organizations are moving.

 

These profiles are expected to be broad, flexible and dynamic; to enable them to be more useful across a range of profiles.  By integrating the outcomes of this study into the university curriculum, it better reflects the interests, experiences and aspirations of youth, making the program more attractive to potential applicants.  It will also serve to ‘create’ graduates better attuned to the needs of the workplace and thus, more successful in their fields, who become success stories for the universities themselves.

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  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Youth contribution to the feed the future initiative

The YPARD coordinator took part in the online discussion to gather information from stakeholders on various issues related to the United States’ new global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future.  Researchers and other stakeholders were given the chance to consider and provide input to the US government on FTF’s research priorities, and to discuss how best to support and engage with this new program.

Some youth-related inputs include:

If this strategy is truly focused on future food security, youth must be a key focus.  Fewer young people are choosing to go into agriculture and agricultural research and instead of speculating on what this might mean for future food security, we need to start including youth issues into these future plans and strategies in a concrete way. 

Let’s start with what we know and then actually talk to the youth themselves to help us fill in the rest.  The first step is working with governments and the industry to concretely look at the profitability of the agriculture sector, real remuneration for agricultural work and access to capital and funding strategies for those youth who are ready to engage in farming and agribusiness.  For agricultural research, let’s involve and talk to the youth working in this sector and give them some space help us come up with the innovative ideas that may help us deliver better food security in research.

Other points include:

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  • United States of America
  • Creating opportunities for policy debate
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YPARD at ARIMNet

Coordination of the Agricultural Research in the Meditérranean Area, ARIMNet, aims to contribute in ensuring that the capacity of the youth in the Mediterranean is improved, so that they have the experience to become agricultural innovators and maintain and propel the agricultural sector forward.  This is exactly what we are promoting at YPARD.

An e-discussion was launched within the YPARD network, to determine their main challenges and suggestions for greater inclusion of YPs in calls for funding and capacity building opportunities.

Resulted paper was presented at ARIMNet Conference, held from 28th to 29th October 2010, at Palma De Mallorca in Spain, during “Capacity Building” parallel session.

The audience was very interested by the presented results and agreed on the role of young professionals in the development of agriculture. The paper issued  “Challenges facing young professionals in agricultural research for development in the Mediterranean region” will be published in conference documents.

 

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  • Creating opportunities for policy debate
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