The number of employers offering agricultural apprenticeships through the National Apprentice Service has risen to its highest ever level as more farmers and apprentices take advantage of the scheme.
The apprenticeships, which combine farming experience and on-the-job learning with practical college instruction, have seen a marked increase in both applicants and vacancies.
Farmers and employees have made the most of the scheme as rising university tuition fees and the ever-increasing need to fulfil farm safety and medical requirements have created demand for both vocational training and accredited qualifications.
A £1,500 small business support grant offers additional financial incentives to farmers who take on an apprentice, while the apprentice minimum wage (£2.65 per hour) allows employees to earn as they learn.
The government currently only provides 100% training funding for 16-18 year olds, passing part of the cost of training of older employees on to the employer. However, this is set to change in August, when apprentices aged 24 or over on Advanced or Higher Apprenticeships will be able to take advantage of an Advanced Learning Loan.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP says: “Apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for young people who want to achieve their career goals.”
Mr Hancock added that any employer looking for more information on taking on an apprentice should take advantage of the advice and support offered by the National Apprentice Service.