Young farmers must grasp every training opportunity to bridge the skills gap

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:03 04 November 2019

Norfolk Young Farmers chairman Will de Feyter.  Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Norfolk Young Farmers chairman Will de Feyter. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2015

Farming’s next generation should be make the most of every training opportunity to help bridge a looming skills gap in their industry says WILL DE FEYTER, chairman of Norfolk Young Farmers.

Uncertain times are ahead of us. We are all very much aware of this and have been for some time.

How prepared businesses and individuals are varies across the board. There are also concerns of a skills shortage presenting itself to the industry. This must be addressed if we are to see businesses remain resilient.

At Norfolk Young Farmers we are very much aware of this and an as a result we have been pushing our members to participate in a variety of training to help benefit themselves and their own, or their employers', businesses.

We have our own county trainers who have received qualifications themselves in training and will facilitate and deliver nationally-recognised training modules ranging from farm safety to team building and teamwork to clubs on a regular basis. All attendees then receive certificates to prove they have participated in the modules - all useful to add to a growing CV.

Last year farm tenancy training was offered with the view to improve the chances of and inspire members to apply to farm tenancies arising in the future.

Looking ahead to this year the annual safeguarding and first aid training is being offered and for the first time health and safety at work training. These are all offered free of charge to our members with the view that it will be useful in their employment and in their own businesses.

To top off everything that is offered to young farmers is our Skills Initiative Fund in which the organisation will pay for up to 50pc of training.

While the uptake is predominantly agricultural, it is not a requirement for the funding. We have seen members complete HGV licenses allowing them to join and expand family businesses, take trailer tests allowing them to start their own pig rearing enterprise. This is a real golden opportunity for members to progress themselves in a wide range of disciplines and with a substantial saving.

It is an opportunity not to be missed, especially if our generation is to fill the predicted skills shortage.

The younger generation has a chance to progress and adapt to the uncertainty. The more that can be learned and understood will always give an advantage over those who refuse to do so and I am confident that Norfolk YFC will continue to aid and advance those in our industry.

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