A new farming qualification for teenagers is being developed to attract more young people to the industry and help solve the issue of agriculture’s ageing workforce.
Consultations are under way to gather the views from anyone working in the farming industry on the teaching contents of the agriculture, land management and production T-level course.
T-levels are new two-year classroom-based technical courses, which will also involve a substantial amount of work experience.
The courses will be designed to bring more skilled young people into agriculture and land management, with the ageing workforce in UK farming a real concern for the industry.
The average age of farmers in the country is now approaching 60, while the proportion aged under 35 has remained less than 5% since the turn of the millennium.
Alongside apprenticeships and A-levels, T-levels will be one of the three major options available to students aged 16-19.
The government is rolling out the courses from September 2020 in more than 20 subject areas, with farming set to launch in 2023.
- T-levels will be the technical equivalent to A-Levels, combining classroom theory, practical learning and an industry placement. The new T-Levels will involve 80% classroom-based learning, and 20% on-the-job learning through substantial industry placements and are equivalent to three A-levels.
- T-levels are being rolled out from 2020 to 2023 across 11 different sectors and more than 20 subject areas, which, in addition to agriculture, include sectors such as digital, construction, engineering and manufacturing and business and administration.
- The first three T-levels (in education and childcare, construction and digital) will be available for delivery to students from September 2020.
The government’s Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education wants to hear from anyone involved in farming by 13 July, to gather feedback on the content of the courses, which has been drafted by a panel of industry experts.
It involves seven training specialisms: crop production, floristry, habitat management (land and water), land-based engineering, livestock production, ornamental and environmental horticulture and landscaping, trees and woodland management and maintenance.
Another consultation has been launched on the draft course content for an animal care and management T-level, also due to launch in 2023. This consultation closes on 13 July.
Carmel Grant, the institute’s deputy director for technical education implementation, said: “T-levels can play a vital role in attracting younger people into agriculture, land management and production, and maximising benefits to the sector from technological advances.
“This consultation is open to everyone who cares about agriculture and how we train the next generation. We need feedback from as many people as possible.”
The institute said it will also be running webinars for employers, to gather feedback on the draft course content and ensure T-levels include the knowledge and skills required by those who will be recruiting people into the industry.