Volunteers needed to help develop farming careers website

Professional development body the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (Tiah) is looking to recruit 300 farmer volunteers to take part in a pilot careers scheme.

Tiah provides skills, information and training advice for people working in agriculture or horticulture in England and it needs the volunteers to help it develop a web-based venture. 

The recruits will help test and refine the service to ensure it meets individual and sector needs ahead of its launch in 2023. 

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Tiah chairman David Fursdon urged farmers from all farm types and locations to come forward.

Speaking at a webinar, he said career advice, skills and training in the farming and horticulture sectors were disconnected.

But the Tiah website would act as a single online resource, allowing users to co-ordinate all aspects of their career from education through recruitment and development.

What does Tiah do?

  • Gathers labour market data and information on skills gaps to influence policy and education
  • Develops a competency-based framework and professional register to define changing skills and knowledge to inform educators, recruiters and workers
  • Provides signposting for careers, skills and knowledge
  • Identifies innovative farming practices and new regulations to help people keep abreast of change

Users will be able to find relevant training and resources using their current job titles and career goals. The site will also allow farmers and growers to keep digital records of their training and achievements. 

This will help farmers and growers to demonstrate compliance, simplify audits and record keeping.

It will also provide a transferable record of skills and knowledge to demonstrate competence to prospective employers or policymakers.

In addition, users will have access to HR and business support, regardless of their scale. 

Mr Fursdon said the ambition to get the website ready meant much depended on finding the right volunteers to help in its development.

This will be fundamental to shaping agriculture and horticulture skills and career services in the future, he added.

Tiah cultivators

Volunteers will be known as Tiah cultivators and gain member-only features before anyone else, including career signposting, record keeping, and training information.

Becoming a Tiah cultivator will require about 20 minutes every two weeks to test, review and offer views.

This would cover a range of topics, including website development, online learning and production of careers information to encourage people to work in the sectors. Farmers will not be asked to take part in every session.

A Tiah spokesperson said they were looking for people who would be prepared to speak out.

“For us to be able to offer the best products and services, we need people who’ll challenge the status quo,” the spokesperson said. 

“[Volunteers] should have a strong passion and enthusiasm for building a profitable and sustainable future for our industries.” 

As an incentive, participants will be entered into a monthly prize draw.

How to apply