Article taken from Shropshire Star…
An exciting initiative to grow the UK’s agricultural industry is ‘bearing fruit’ for a specialist recruitment firm since it joined Telford’s agri-tech innovation hub.
Jonathan Lee Recruitment took up offices in the Agri-EPI Centre, based at Harper Adams University, earlier this year to be closer to the community it serves – supporting agri-tech businesses by sourcing the specialist skills they need to develop ideas, design processes, or grow their operations
Grant Nisbet, Director of Jonathan Lee Recruitment, said: “There are some really exciting innovations happening in agri-tech right now which are transforming the UK agricultural industry to become more efficient and more sustainable.
The move has led to more conversations, more enquiries, and new clients, which is enabling the company to contribute towards the creation of a more sustainable society.
“But finding the right people to drive those innovations forward is challenging. Talent attraction and management solutions are needed more than ever to bridge that skills gap.
“The Agri-EPI Centre is home to a variety of these innovative projects, as well as being closely linked to the sector-leading Harper Adams University and the nearby agri-tech Ni.Park in Newport, which has just opened a second phase.
“Being at the heart of that community, both in Telford and the Agri-EPI Centre itself, is enabling us to add even more value to the sector. It’s opened many doors, including giving us immediate access to a 200+ membership of businesses in the agri-tech sector.
“We even helped the start-up in the office next door to find a design engineer to work on the development of their unique new broccoli harvesting machine. It’s almost certain we wouldn’t have had this opportunity if we weren’t based in the centre.”
UPP has pioneered new technology which uses AI and automation to harvest broccoli crops more efficiently while significantly reducing waste by collecting the previously discarded parts of the plant to turn into sustainable proteins.
The smart machinery fully automates the spotting, cutting, lifting and carrying process at a rate of up to 3km/h, and allows for the 80% of the plant that is normally left behind to be upcycled into a product that can now be sold.
But the company was struggling to find a suitably qualified and experienced design engineer to help take the prototypes forward and Jonathan Lee was able to find the perfect candidate with an agricultural and engineering background who, not only had the right skillset, but was also looking to escape the city rat race.
Mark Thackwray was also at a time in his life where he was.…continue reading