Video: Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison at Askham Bryan College

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BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison was the guest speaker at a conference in Yorkshire today aimed at promoting the high skilled jobs which exist in the food and farming sectors.

The TV star delivered a keynote speech to teachers and business leaders at Askham Bryan College, near York, on the importance of getting more young people working in rural industries.

Ellie Harrison

Ellie Harrison

She said: “One of the things I see working on Countryfile is that the age of people working in the industry is getting older

“But it is a modern industry and there are a lot of good news stories happening out there.”

She told the Yorkshire Post that she hoped to help careers advisers answer the questions young people looking for a career would be asking.

Organisers of the event say they want young people to realise that there is much more to working in agriculture than “pulling on wellies and driving a tractor”.

The conference, which is running for a third year, is aimed at increasing awareness of the job opportunities which exist in the rural economy for career advisors.

Around 60 businesses were represented at the event showcasing career options for people leaving school, land based colleges or university.

Steve Willis, chairman of the Food, Farming and Rural Network which has helped to organise the event, said: “There’s a misconception that choices for a career in the countryside are quite narrow and of course that’s not the case.

“There’s huge choice out there – from working in agricultural research to becoming a vet to developing new food products.

“There’s huge potential for talented young people and by talking to careers advisers and teachers, we want to get that message out there.”

Mr Willis, who is a first generation farmer from near Harrogate, who started in dairy and now runs two farm shops, said farming and food had become more fashionable in recent years with the rise of cooking shows which educate people on the importance of using quality produce.