Coronavirus: Two Scots skill matching services launched

Two matching services have been launched in Scotland to support the agricultural industry’s need for labour during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lantra Scotland, a charity supported by the Scottish government, has created a skills matching service to help businesses find workers with relevant knowledge and experience.

It aims to ensure farmers can continue to meet their day-to-day work and animal welfare obligations while the spread of Covid-19 puts critical work at risk.

See also: Coronavirus: Advice for managing and keeping staff safe

Lantra director Liz Barron-Majerik said her organisation wants to hear from anyone with skills and experience in agriculture, animal care and machine operation who are looking for work or a career change, or are willing to lend a hand if needed.

Key skills in demand include telehandler operators, tractor drivers and livestock handlers.

“This new service should make it easier for employers and potential employees with the right skills to get in touch with each other in these challenging times,” she said.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our students and staff from colleges and universities, vets and vet nurses furloughed or made redundant, and individuals with relevant transferable skills and experience, can play a critical role in offering support in the coming weeks and months.”

NFU Scotland has also backed the service.

To join, visit www.scotland.lantra.co.uk/skills-matching-service or call 01738 310 164.

Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society

The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society has also launched an initiative to link experienced workers with farmers who may be in need of labour in the near future.

The society’s chief executive, Barrie Turner, said: “Keeping the wheels turning with a minimum labour force, as skilled key workers are expected to be taken ill or unable to travel to work, has now become the priority for our industry.

“We are looking for those who would be keen and willing to come forward and take over some day-to-day work if a farm is in need of an experienced pair of hands, should the resident workforce be out of action due to the effects of Covid-19.”

In addition, the society is encouraging all businesses to implement an emergency contingency plan to ensure they have planned ahead and documented all key contacts and farm details in case additional help needs to be brought in at short notice.

Anyone who feels their experience fits the bill can contact the society via its website (www.aberdeen-angus.co.uk/) or by emailing amy@breedplan.co.uk.

Farm businesses can also email amy@breedplan.co.uk with their requirements.

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