Industry leaders have welcomed the development of a new educational course at the Royal Veterinary College, which they say will act as a vital mechanism for developing skills within the farming industry.

A new PG Certificate in intensive livestock production will be on offer at the London College from September.

The part-time blended course, which is combined with distance learning, will be open to people working within the agri-food sector and is aimed at promoting the development of advanced level skills in the pig and poultry industry.

Richard Longthorp, chairman of the AgriSkills Forum, said: “Over the next 10 years we need 60,000 new people across the skills pyramid which exists within the agriculture and horticulture sectors. This scheme will provide a vital mechanism to develop those skills within the sector.”

The course was developed from an Advanced Training Partnership grant which was awarded from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in May.

Dr Helen Ferrier, chief science regulatory affairs advisor for the NFU, added: “This is a great opportunity for the farming industry in the UK. We need all the advisers and technicians involved in agriculture and horticulture to be able to engage with cutting-edge science, and these training programmes will support them to do so.”

• For more information visit www.rvc.ac.uk