Morrisons has launched a £2m apprenticeship fund to encourage would-be farmers into the industry.
A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain said this was to help address farming’s recruitment challenge, with fewer farmers’ children wanting to take over the family business.
Morrisons said its programme would help tackle staff shortages by training employees and drawing fresh talent into farming.
It would also turn out apprentices with the business knowledge needed to grow produce for food manufacturers and retailers like Morrisons.
The programme will include:
- Broad-based agricultural skills training from a recognised training provider.
- Mentoring and support from fellow apprentices and key members of the Morrisons team to help understand the retail sector.
- Matching apprentices with local stores so that budding farmers can spend days in store learning what customers want and how stores work.
- Study to develop an understanding of customer attitudes to British sourcing, farming and animal welfare.
See also: More on careers and personal development
The spokeswoman explained how Morrisons had earmarked the £2m funding.
“As an employer who pays the apprenticeship levy, Morrisons has the option to transfer up to 25% of its annual apprenticeship levy funds to other levy-paying or non-levy-paying employers.
“We’re keen to use this transfer funding to support employers within our supply chain to help address the skills issues facing the farming community and provide vital opportunities for people to get on to the career ladder.”
The spokeswoman said the £2m funding would be an annual commitment.
How will the scheme work?
Anyone interested in taking up the Morrisons Farming Apprenticeship Scheme can apply by visiting the Morrisons farming website www.morrisons-farming.com.
There are then three programme options:
- Morrisons’ supply chain farmers employing staff aged 19 and older can register to receive funding that will cover the cost of apprenticeship training. If successful Morrison’s will work with them to enable them to select a training provider and arrange payment to the training provider
- In addition, those wanting to farm or work on farms can join Morrisons’ Apprenticeship Scheme. This follows the same process but also offers:
– Mentoring and support from fellow apprentices and Morrisons’ team
– Matching apprentices with local stores to talk to customers and learn how stores work
– Supply chain projects to develop their understanding of customer attitudes
- Apprentices on egg laying units can apply to join Morrisons’ bespoke egg training scheme in association with Bishop Burton College. At the end of the programme apprentices gain a Level 2 or 3 Apprenticeship qualification depending on the programme undertaken.