25 February 2000
‘Government should retrain farmers’

By FWi staff

THE government should pay for specialist retraining so that farmers can find jobs outside of agriculture, according to the Country Landowners Association.

Free retraining to help miners and steel workers find other jobs during the 1980s should now be extended to the agricultural sector, said a CLA statement.

The organisation is urging government to give more help to farmers forced to look for jobs elsewhere because of the current economic climate.

Although government intends to make 22 million available for training schemes, this will be targeted at farmers wanting to diversify.

The organisation believes the scheme should tackle the basic skills needed by farmers seeking other forms of employment.

Vincent Hedley-Lewis, CLA council member, said many farmers have never had to apply for a job before and could struggle to write a CV or sell themselves.

“The difficulty is that so many of them went straight on to the family farm from school or agricultural college,” he said.

“Now in their forties and fifties, they have to learn how to start new careers.”

Mr Hedley-Lewis rejected the belief of many farmers that they are not suited to other forms of employment.

“They are quick to learn, self reliant self-starters, used to taking decisions and carrying them out, and used to working without supervision.

“Theyve always worked flexi-time.

“These strengths are all borne out of the farming background, where they are – they have to be – second nature.

“But they need to be given the confidence to go out into the jobs marketplace and sell these skills.”