Education is a core aim for the RNAA, developing better awareness of the importance of food, farming and the countryside, an understanding of the issues and challenges facing the rural economy and the opportunities that exist for those in agriculture, are core objectives. Traditionally these have been fulfilled through the medium of the annual agricultural shows and, more recently, tailor-made events for school-age children and young people, including those in further education and higher education and at the early stage of their careers. The RNAA is also a principle supporter, through charitable grants, of related organisations, such as the Young Farmers’ Clubs. However it is recognised that more is needed and could be achieved by taking a strategic and more collaborative approach.
Using the networks and convening power vested in the Eastern region’s two agricultural associations, the RNAA and the SAA (Suffolk Agricultural Assocation), together with the unique catalyst provided by Easton and Otley College we wish to take this forward and have begun to act together. This is our opportunity to take up the challenge, articulated in the Fursdon report for DEFRA, to lead the way in England and, most importantly, to make a positive difference in our region.
As partners we wish to adopt a comprehensive approach to deliver world class learning opportunities for young people about, in and through the agricultural environment. These learning opportunities focus on:
* Farming and production
* Outdoor learning for all
* The rural economy – including the energy sector
* The natural environment
Overall, we wish to improve outcomes and we intend to contribute to this by helping ensure that every young person in Norfolk and Suffolk gains experience relating to their county through food, farming and the countryside.
We acknowledge that though our actions we can provide a vehicle for achieving wider learning and skills objectives and also attract and support talented new entrants to the land-based economy.
It is anticipated that the following bodies will work together to fulfil our joint vision: RNAA; SAA; University of East Anglia; Norfolk County Council; Suffolk County Council; Young Farmers’ Clubs; the business community including LEP, farming and agri-business; the agri-food charities; specialist agri-educational groups and schools