“How on earth did I get here?” Laura Phelps thanks YFC program for her inspiring #Ag career to London, via Hogwarts, and back

Laura Phelps Testimonial.png

Today’s guest blog post comes from Young Farming Champion who is currently working in the UK

In May 2015 I wrote that the opportunities in Agriculture are endless, little did I know just how much those words have come back to haunt me. In the four short years since I wrote those words as a guest blog to become a part of the Young Farming Champions Program, a lot has changed.

I have had what many would term the ‘millennial career pathway’ – in short, I have changed jobs a few times. Moving from my first role working in policy for the Pork industry to Exports and Trade with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Each of these roles reminded me just how much I love Agriculture and the people who support all parts of the system from paddock to plate.

Lura Phelps Exploring the Lakes District

                                                   Exploring the Lakes district

Almost 12 months ago, I packed my bags, shipped off the pet cat to some friends and said goodbye to my nearest and dearest for what was only meant to be a 6-month stint working on Brexit for the UK Civil Service department the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in London. The remit of the FSA is simple, it cares about making sure that food is safe, what it says it is and the rights of the consumer are protected. Translating that into a Brexit context has been one of the most fascinating, and frankly fun jobs I have ever had.

Lura Phelps at Hogwarts

                    One of the perks of the new work location…. Proximity to Hogwarts

Having well past the 6 month point and now looking to re-book the other half of the flight home for a later date, I have been asking myself, honestly how on earth did I get here? There are a few things that have contributed to my success in my early career, obviously my parents who just let me explore and develop a passion for all things Agriculture, my high school agriculture teacher Dr Ford, and some supportive bosses along the road. But one of my most important success ‘points’ has been being accepted into the ‘Young Framing Champions Program’.

There is no program for young people in Agriculture that nabs you in early career and allows you build confidence the way that Young Farming Champions Program does, it also establishes a network of other likeminded young people who are all equally excited and enthusiastic about their roles within Agriculture. One of the really cool things about Agriculture is that it is a spectrum there are those of us who work in banks, paddocks, consulting firms, non-for profits, research organisations and government departments just to name a few. Building a program that caters to all of us working in agriculture is as impressive, as it is valuable, and the professional development is just one element of the Young Farming Champions program.

The Art4Agriulture element of the program was one of the core elements that attracted me to the Young Farming Champions Program. In high school I was told by different career councillors to not study agriculture, and I am not the only one involved in the program that has this story. Talking to students about the importance of Agriculture and the importance of our food and fibre industries, I think is one of many ways that we can bridge the country city divide. As a young person who is excited by agriculture, exciting more young people about agriculture via Art4Agriculture I think is key for not only engaging people about what it is we do in our various industries. But it allows people to have a credible conversation and ask questions of people in industry.

Laura Pehlps with Costa and the YFC

Art4Agriculture and its inbuilt support network that includes Costa Georgiadis

I owe a lot to the Young Farming Champions Program and I know that I am not the only one. Right now, I am leading the team responsible for EU-Exit for the FSA, its honestly been the one of the most interesting, complicated and fun jobs I have had. Yes, I have personally thrown in the long hours and the hard work to get here, but I don’t think that I would be here if it weren’t for the skills I learnt early on from the Young Farming Champions Program.

Thanks Laura we are looking forward to hearing more of your #Brexit adventures

Update March 2021

After working with the Department of International Trade in London for a year and a half Laura has taken up a new position as head of the Regulatory, International and Legislative Strategy Unit at Food Standards Agency. It’s great to see our YFCs working overseas in international agricultural policy development.

#StrongWomen #StrongerTogether #YouthinAgVoices

Leave a Reply