NFU calls on farmers to have say on apprenticeships

The NFU has called on farmers to have their say on the need for apprenticeships in agriculture.

The call today (7 February) marks the start of Apprenticeship Week – an initiative backed by the industry-led AgriSkills Forum to promote skills and careers for young people in farming.

The union has set up an online survey to coincide with the week of activities across England and Wales and has urged farming businesses to take part.

A previous survey, carried out by land-based training body Lantra, showed that 81% of farmers believed businesses were more productive when they used apprentices.

NFU deputy president, and chairman of the AgriSkills Forum, Meurig Raymond said: “The coalition government is clearly keen to put apprenticeships at the heart of its skills strategy. It is increasing the number of apprenticeships available backed by an increased investment of £250m.

“This is great news and while apprenticeships are only one of a range of entry opportunities into farming we recognise their importance in attracting and encouraging young people into a successful career in agriculture.

“British farmers and growers provide the building blocks to the UK’s food and drink industry, which adds £23bn to the national economy. And we have a well-documented set of challenges ahead, not least feeding 9bn mouths by 2050 while using less water and natural resource.

“Attracting dynamic young people into the industry is essential if we are to have a thriving food and farming sector in the future.”

The NFU will use its survey as part of discussions within AgriSkills (a forum of all the major agricultural organisations, which includes: the NFU; DEFRA; the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; and Lantra) to find out more about the awareness of apprenticeship schemes within agriculture and horticulture, and the possible barriers to uptake.