ABP recognised for developing next generation of Agrifood

ABP Angus Youth Wins ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year’ Award

The agribusiness ABP has been recognised for its contribution to the skills development of young people with a ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year’ Award. The accolade, which was announced at the Irish News 2024 Workplace & Employment Awards Ceremony recently (7 June),  The award acknowledges ABP’s approach to addressing critical issues such as the sustainability of red meat production, occupational perceptions of farming and meat manufacturing, and the employability skills deficit among young people.

Since its inception in 2017, the ABP Angus Youth Challenge has been providing a unique ‘farm-to-fork’ learning experience for 14–15-year-olds from schools, clubs or societies. By bridging the gap between traditional education and careers in the agrifood industry, the ABP Angus Youth Challenge provides successful participants valuable knowledge, hands-on experience in farming and beef production, and essential employability skills. Through a rigorous selection process involving industry and education representatives, finalist teams have the opportunity to rear Angus calves, benefiting financially from their eventual sale to ABP.

One of the key requirements of the finalist programme is on sustainability practices, with teams guided by mentors from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise to utilise technology that can reduce emissions and enhance efficiency in farming. In addition to the practical experience, year-long projects aligned with the pupils’ GCSE subjects, focus on sustainability topics such as diversity promotion, succession planning in family farms, carbon reduction innovations, and the well-being of farming families. International exposure to ABP’s business is provided through a 4-day study tour with ABP and its delivery partner, Certified Irish Angus Producer Group. The schools that have reached this year’s final are Aughnacloy College; Dromore High School Co. Down; the Royal School Armagh and St. Colmcille’s in Crossgar. The first leg of this year’s tour will commence at a major sustainable beef Open Day in Co. Meath followed by an interactive steak cookery demonstration at Lismullin Cookery School with ABP Ireland. The pupils and their teachers will then be flown on to Belgium for visits to an ABP retail packing facility; the EU Parliament and for meetings with the NI Executive Office and the Ulster Farmers Union.

110 schools have participated in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge to date. The initiative’s success has been widely recognised by teachers for delivering an increased awareness of agrifood career pathways, improving academic performance and motivation among students, and enhancing linkages between schools, farming communities, and the broader public.

It is also playing a role in fostering knowledge transfer and best practices in beef production through its emphasis on community engagement. Communication and interview skills training is provided to all finalists to help them engage with their school and wider community and to assist with job interviews. A growing number of finalists are now pursuing agriculture, food-related, or veterinary qualifications demonstrating the lasting influence on career choices and aspirations.

Commenting on the recognition, George Mullan Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland said, “The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is inspiring the next generation of leaders in sustainable farming and food production practices. Its success demonstrates the transformative power of education, experiential learning, and community engagement in creating a more resilient and responsible agrifood industry.”

The ABP Angus Youth Challenge will open for new entries from 14-14 year olds in Year 11 on 1 September 2024.

Interested schools/clubs & societies can register at www.abpangusyouthchallenge.com

Register Now 2021 from ABP ANGUS YOUTH CHALLENGE on Vimeo.