Applications have opened for the 2019 intake of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) professional farm management course.

The recognised qualification aims to develop management skills in farming and will start in January 2019.

The course is designed to increase the skills of farmers who manage people, enabling them to apply business intelligence from other sectors, improve communication and understanding, to raise the level of professionalism in the agricultural industry.

AHDB levy payers are eligible for a £3,000 discount on the Professional Manager Development Scheme, which is run by training specialists, Cedar Associates.

At the end of the course participants evaluate its impact themselves and in earlier rounds, those taking part identified benefits of more than £300,000 (an average of £28,000 per business).

Evidence from previous groups also shows these benefits continue to increase as time goes by and they become more efficient at implementing the tools and techniques gained on the course.

‘Skills to ensure our businesses thrive’

Tess Howe, Senior Skills Manager at AHDB said: “The skills that we have all relied on in the past are not necessarily the skills required to ensure our businesses thrive in the future.

As businesses respond to a changing market, skills needs alter and our management skills need to develop to ensure we get the best out of our employees and others that support the business such as consultants, advisors and contractors.

There are 10 sessions planned over the 14-month programme, each consisting of an evening discussion followed by a day of management training.

Ruth Thomas, a pig farmer from Norfolk, said: “I joined the course to improve my leadership skills and ultimately build a stronger team on the farm.

Managing staff can sometimes feel like every step you take forward, you take two steps back, but the practical techniques taught have been really useful.

“The support of the group has been a key element to us all improving our ability to manage people and improve our effectiveness within our respective businesses.”

Farmers who take part in the course receive a formal qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and a certificate in First Line Management.

How to apply

The interview panel are looking for individuals who are looking to improve their own management skills and have the ability to implement change where required. It is essential that participants have the full support of their employer and staff team.

Places are limited, however, there is no pre-requisite in terms of qualifications but applicants must be able to complete reports and commit to attending all training sessions.

Application forms should be submitted by Wednesday, October 31, 2018, and successful candidates will be invited for interview on Monday, November 12.

AHDB levy payers are eligible for a discount to attend the course at £950 plus VAT – the fee includes registration, tutor and hotel fees. Non-levy payers can apply at a cost of £3,950 plus VAT.

For more information and an application form, please contact Tess Howe by email on: [email protected].