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Triple skills funding success set to boost farming industry

Thousands of farmers and growers across the country will enjoy more high quality training opportunities, thanks to a £1.4 million triple success secured under the Defra/European Union RDPE programme by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

This latest funding boost will focus on animal health and welfare, advanced skills for crop growers and reducing endemic disease in the pig and poultry sectors through collaborative working. It builds on the £2.2 million RDPE skills programme already delivered by AHDB in 2013. The new funding, which includes a £390,000 contribution from private industry, is focused on:

- An £815,000 contract to manage a national training programme in cattle and sheep health and welfare. This latest initiative brings together three previous regional programmes to provide a national project targeting wider endemic disease across England

- A £415,000 contract to develop advanced skills training opportunities for crop growers in both agriculture and horticulture. Featuring a programme of study tours, this new project  will provide in-depth, closely targeted opportunities for development and career progression

- A £130,000 contract to increase opportunities across the pig and poultry industries to reduce the effect of endemic diseases through collaborative working. This England-wide initiative will be delivered through a 10-month programme of workshops and seminars.

With all three projects set to go live, AHDB has engaged a team of delivery partners to roll out the training which includes ADAS, Duchy College, SAC, TrainEast, Westpoint and XL Vets, plus other smaller providers.

AHDB Chief Executive Tom Taylor said: "This skills funding will enable us to help around 4,000 farmers and growers acquire the new knowledge our industry needs to be more competitive and profitable.

"Innovation and continuous professional development are essential components for us to grow British agriculture."

The drive to secure investment in training and development is seen as a key component of the industry AgriSkills strategy launched by AHDB, last November.

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