Farm owners and managers are being asked to help shape a new education programme which aims to develop home-grown talent for the agricultural industry.
The new Agriculture, Land Management and Production 'T-Level' training course is currently under review and businesses are being urged to help develop the content, alongside education professionals and government.
'T-Levels' are new courses coming in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to 3 A-Levels. The two-year courses will be developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.
Businesses have until July 13 to comment on the outline content which, once finalised, will be rolled out to sixth forms and colleges from 2023.
AHDB, which works alongside industry employers to identify and target gaps in training, development and progression, is urging all employers to take part in the consultation.
Amie Burke, AHDB skills manager, said: “It is vitally important that businesses take part in this consultation to help ensure the content captures the right knowledge, skills and performance outcomes to enable students to enter the right field of employment.
This is an exciting time for the industry as it will ensure young people go as far as their talents and hard work can take them.
"Developing our home-grown talent will ensure that British businesses have the skills needed on their doorsteps.”
T-Levels are the new two-year, technical study programmes which will be available across 11 industry routes – sitting alongside apprenticeships and A-Levels, they will be one of the three major options available to 16 to 19-year-olds.
The new agriculture T-Level course includes crop production, floristry, habitat management, land-based engineering, livestock production, tree and woodland management and maintenance specialisms.
The content has been developed by T-Level panels of experts and will be used by awarding bodies to develop this technical qualification.
Once the views of businesses are captured, route panels of employer experts will incorporate the opinions into the outline content documents. The approach will ensure the right content is delivered in schools and colleges in the future.
NFU vice-president Tom Bradshaw said: “To make sure we have access to training that is fit for purpose, the industry will need to feed into the creation and delivery of T-Levels.
“This consultation is a great opportunity for members who are employers to share and advise on the skills and knowledge that is needed from our future farmer and grower workforce.
The need to attract more people into the industry is being widely embraced and the new T-Level qualifications are part of making this happen.
Richard Longthorp, chairman of the Agricultural Employer Trailblazer Group, added: “One of the key determinants of the productivity of any farming business is its ability to recruit, retain and develop highly skilled staff.
“The new T-Level qualifications give the industry a real opportunity to do something positive about this challenge.
"By helping to shape the T-Levels through participation in this consultation, farmers and growers can help take control of the 16-18 education agenda for those more practically minded young people rather than stand by and accept what is imposed on us all by default.”