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How Bord Bia’s Librarians help to fill information skills gaps in the agriculture and food sector

Mairéad Mc Keown, Manager, Knowledge & Critical Capability


On November the 2nd, Bord Bia proudly had its first ever UN SDG story published on the International Federation of Library Association’s (the IFLA’s) Library Map of the World. To learn more about How Bord Bia’s Librarians Help to Fill Information Skills Gaps in the Agriculture and Food Sector and positively contribute to improvements across UN SDG goals, check out the full story (as published by IFLA) below.




In Ireland the agriculture and food sector is a substantial part of the economy and a key contributor to economic growth. Irish food and drink exports are thriving on the global stage – they export the majority of what they produce to consumers in 175 countries.

In 2015, the government released Food Wise 2025, a strategy setting the vision for the agri-food sector. It foresees a sector that acts more strategically and achieves a competitive critical mass in the international marketplace while targeting more quality conscious consumers who recognise and reward Ireland’s food producers for their sustainable production and high-quality produce.

To achieve sustainable growth, Food Wise 2025 identifies over 400 recommendations in four areas: Human Capital, Competitiveness, Market Development, and Innovation.

It was acknowledged that the sector faces challenges and skills gaps that must be filled across the sector, up and down the supply and value chains, to enable the potential of the sector to be realised. As the agri-food sector becomes more knowledge-intensive, education and skills development are even more critical for success and there must be an emphasis on up-skilling and training ambitious people to drive the future development of the sector.

Bord Bia believes that success rests on the skills, motivation, and engagement of talented individuals. To this end, Bord Bia’s Talent Academy works with the MSc programmes of two university partners – UCD Michael Smurfit Business School and Dublin City University Business School.

In 2020, Bord Bia’s librarians were approached by the director of Strategic Insight & Planning and the manager of the Talent Academy with a request to design and deliver an information literacy programme for its MSc Insight & Innovation students.

Students of this master’s programme, which is implemented in partnership with the Dublin City University, lasts for 18 months and combines study and work placement in a Bord Bia client company. As part of their placement, students are tasked with producing Category Intelligence Reports that identify potential opportunities for growth. It was during this task when the need to improve students’ information skills was identified.


Informed by IFLA’s Guidelines for Library-Based Literacy Programs, Bord Bia’s librarians developed online Quality Information Literacy modules, which kicked off in November 2020 and were delivered for three weeks to a group of 15 students. The teams produced Category Intelligence Reports to a very high standard, and the programme evaluation provided evidence of its positive contribution to the MSc students’ development needs. 100% of participants found the training very or extremely useful, 100% agreed that what they had learned would help them to be more confident and competent at producing reports for their placement companies and 100% agreed they would recommend the training to future Talent Academy cohorts. This testimonial was typical of those received:

”The Category Intelligence training has provided me with the skills and technique to effectively deliver information and more importantly, insights to my placement company.”

The Quality Information Literacy programme has now been rolled out to Bord Bia’s Marketing Fellows from University College Dublin and going forward will be extended to all future Talent Academy participants.

Building on its success, Bord Bia’s Knowledge & Market Intelligence Team, librarians cultivate a community of valuable knowledge creators who can help enable the growth and sustainability of Irish producers.

Contributor: Bord Bia/Irish Food Board

Published Date: 02 November 2021”


To enquire about our quality education programme please don’t hesitate to Bord Bia’s Librarians at: thethinkinghouse@bordbia.ie