A new £20m rural business training scheme, which aims to help at least 90,000 people in England, has been launched by DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson.

A range of subsidised courses will cover areas such as business management, market opportunities and information technology. Defra will cover 70% of training costs through the Rural Development Programme for England, with the remaining 30% paid by individuals or their employers.

The courses will range from one-day workshops to industry-recognised qualifications, and courses will be run on college campuses, village halls, on farms and in business centres.

Farm consultant Rural Renaissance is running a series of training courses eligible for funding under the new Defra scheme.

The courses, which will take place during March and April at six different venues from Stoneleigh to Ipswich, will cover areas including profitable farm business analysis, farm energy and renewable opportunities, modern food economics and grain marketing management.

For more information about the training scheme visit DEFRA’s website.