Industry bodies have joined forces to set standards for three new farm apprenticeships in a bid to develop the next generation of skilled farmers and growers.
Using feedback from some of the largest and most productive employers in the industry, National Farmers' Union (NFU), Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have put together two new sets of standards for apprenticeships as either a crop technician or a stockman.
The 'Trailblazers' schemes offer the opportunity for colleges and employers to work together to help the next generation increase their knowledge and skills as well as building the behaviours, which can help workers to be successful in the future.
AHDB senior skills manager Tess Howe said: “Improving skills is a key part to unlocking productivity gains on farm. These new standards will help ensure that even the newest recruits to farming and growing businesses can support the drive to improve performance while they work.
Over the past three years, we’ve worked closely with the industry and we now need more employers to step forward and work with training providers to bring new entrants into their businesses.
"The flexible nature of the new Trailblazers schemes also means that they can be used as a structured way of upskilling existing workers.”
Equipping workers with core technical and business skills has been identified as a strategic priority by AHDB to drive productivity in UK agriculture. Around a third of all business holders are currently aged 65 and over.
A third standard, for a packhouse line leader, is also nearing completion and is focused on supervisory staff.
Guy Smith, NFU deputy president said: “These new apprenticeship standards will play a huge role in attracting new talent to our industry, and allow us to develop our skills.
“Apprenticeships which provide training to an industry-agreed standard, offer farmers and growers an excellent way to recruit new people and develop them while they work, helping to ensure businesses can continue to be productive, profitable and progressive.
“We would encourage our members who are interested in providing an apprenticeship to speak to their local land-based college or private provider, and find out more about how they can get involved, either for existing employees or for a new post which they would like to advertise.”