Farm contractors have pledged to support efforts to increase skill levels among people working in agriculture.

An agreement signed by the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) promises to champion investment in skills in agriculture.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Lantra, the sector skills council for the land-based sector, on Monday (30 November 2009).

Jill Hewitt, NAAC chief executive, added: “It’s really important for us to collaborate with Lantra in supporting training and skills development.”

The document details an action plan to help agricultural contractors develop the skills needed now and in the future.

It highlights a commitment to shape qualifications and develop National Occupational Standards so they are up-to-date and relevant to employer needs.

In doing so, NAAC hopes to improve businesses performance and productivity.

The agreement also recognises a commitment to review, promote and sign up to Lantra research aimed at providing the farming industry with the right skills.

Laura Biddick-Bray, Lantra’s industry partnership manager, said both organisations wanted to ensure farming was professional and had a highly skilled workforce.

“Through our joint working, we can encourage businesses and individuals to ensure they have the right skills,” she said.

Contractors faced increasing pressure to adopt the latest technology, respond to customers’ changing needs and embrace legislative requirements.

“The action plan will be reviewed continuously as industry “drivers” such as legislation, priorities and initiatives develop over the coming years.”