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25 June 2024

Planting the seeds for future careers

Virtual Reality brings farm careers into the classroom

My World of Work Employability skills Rural Scotland

Virtual reality is giving young Scots the chance to experience agriculture careers in the classroom.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) have teamed up to open up the possibilities of agriculture careers for pupils.

The experience focuses on a variety of roles across Ardross Farm in Fife, highlighting the range of careers on offer with a focus on what it takes to get food from farm to fork.

A small boy in a high vis jacket sits in the middle of the picture wearing a VR headset, while his brother and SDS team member look on.

It’s part of SDS’ My World of Work Live programme of activity which is designed to inspire young people (8-18) to think about future careers through practical, creative sessions, using state of the art kit – all linked to Curriculum for Excellence.

Pupils can explore a wide range of careers as part of the new experience, including Farmer, Agronomist, Precision Agricultural Specialist, Spinner, Research Scientist (supported by the Moredun Research Institute), Roots Operation Manager (supported by Kettle Produce) and Sales and Marketing Manager – all filmed at Ardross Farm in Elie.

The free experience was launched at the Royal Highland Show, with hundreds of young people and their families engaging with the activity over the course of the four days in RHET’s Discovery Centre.

Linda Innes, Design and Content Manager at SDS, said: “The interactive VR experience is an exciting and fun way to introduce young people to possible future careers, bringing new worlds to them to explore and find out more.

“This VR experience will be at events across the summer for even more people to try, including the Belladrum festival and the Perth and Kinross Show. My World of Work Live will then be taking this interactive experience into schools across the country from August.”

Katrina Barclay, RHET Executive Officer, said: “Showcasing the variety of career opportunities linked to agriculture using VR can only be a good thing to promote the diversity and accessibility of the sector. There really is something for everyone, and you don’t have to come from a farming background to have a successful and rewarding future in the industry. We hope this is the first of many more VR experiences to come."

Tara Clark is RHET’s Project Coordinator and works with her family to run Ardross Farm. She said: “It’s becoming more and more difficult to recruit enthusiastic and skilled people to work on farms, and I think often it’s because young people don’t know the huge range of job roles available in agriculture as an industry. This experience is part of RHET work to improve that knowledge.

“It also fits well with our ethos at Ardross, where we work hard to show our customers and visitors the importance of having a link to where their food comes from. We do in-person tours of the farm for the same reason.”