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Stackyard News May 2010

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Farming Trainees Receive Their Own Tools of the Trade

Thanks to the Wooler Work Web, ten young farming trainees have each received a full tool kit worth £210 to help them learn their trade.

Arable trainees with Neil Wilson


All are currently enrolled on a unique Arable Traineeship created and funded by The North Northumberland Agricultural Training Association (NNATA) and LandSkills North East as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to train North Northumberland’s next generation of agricultural workers.

Created by the Glendale Gateway Trust, The Wooler Work Web is a one stop shop for all employment related issues in the Glendale area. It publicises job vacancies, offers training and small equipment grants for those seeking employment or wanting to start their own business. Through the scheme, all ten trainees have all received their own tool kit worth to use throughout their 12 month training period and beyond. The kits provide tools for boundary maintenance, the erection of fencing and the general upkeep of farm buildings, equipment and infrastructure.

Neil Wilson, Wooler Work Web Project Manager explains their decision to donate the tool kits: “We think the Arable Traineeship Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for young people in the area to learn the land management skills which are needed to ensure the future of farming in North Northumberland and train them for employment in a local industry.”

The key objective of this, the first arable traineeship of its kind in the UK is to counteract the huge decline in young people working in agriculture. All ten trainees aged 17-24 were unemployed at the start of the course. Now, over the next year they will complete a practical training programme with local arable businesses resulting in a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture.

LandSkills North East, which is managed by Lantra Sector Skills Council on behalf of One North East, is funding 85% of the project and the host farms and businesses will contribute towards off-site training.

While previous farming experience wasn’t necessary, the ability to learn practical skills was a vital part of the selection process. NNATA Project Manager Viv Cockburn explains: “My belief is that there is no better form of training than hands on learning and with many farmers approaching retirement age we need to make sure these skills are retained. We are very grateful to the Wooler Work Web for providing the tool kits. By offering local training we overcome the need to travel long distances to study. By providing the tools, the Wooler Work Web has overcome the barrier of needing to purchase expensive equipment to enter this sector.”

During their training, entrants who are employed by the NNATA will learn all aspects of crop management and complementary skills such as first aid, forklift training and tractor driving. Throughout the year, they will build a portfolio of their qualifications and training with references for future employers. As the tool kits are theirs to keep they will also be able to start any future employment well equipped with the tools for their trade and the knowledge of how to use them.

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