Eligible sixteen year olds throughout Wales may be able to receive 80 per cent funding from Farming Connect’s Skills Development Programme, which is managed by Lantra Sector Skills Council, towards the cost of learning to drive a tractor and taking the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) test.
Skills Development Programme Manager, Sarah Lewis, said, “Supporting 16 year olds to drive a tractor on the road will not only keep them safe but may lead to them being given extra responsibility on the farm.”
Health & Safety Executive Inspector Tony Mitchell has welcomed the initiative to encourage young people to undertake professional tractor driving training. Tractor driving, along with other moving vehicles, accounts for about 25 per cent of fatal injuries on farms and Mr Mitchell says that many could be avoided by the drivers taking a few simple precautions.
“A number of tractor accidents on farms involve the driver being struck or run over by their own tractor. It is therefore crucial that the parking brake is properly maintained and always applied fully. Basic training at an early age should instil this practice into young drivers and give them skills to be able to assess the work they are about to do so that it carried out in the safest and most efficient way.”
This autumn a team of Farming Connect skills co-ordinators will be visiting agricultural colleges across Wales in a campaign to highlight the wide range of subsidised training that is available through the Skills Development Programme. The Farming Connect Skills Development Programme will be open to immediate family members associated with farm and forestry business [such as partners, sons or daughters] (16years+) or employees of the business that can provide evidence of PAYE (such as pay slip, tax form, P60).
Agricultural/horticultural businesses with a County Parish Holding Number (CPH) and Customer Reference Number (CRN) in Wales, who must be working in excess of 550 hours per year, will be eligible.
Farming Connect is funded through the Rural Development Plan 2007–2013, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Assembly Government.
For further information on the Farming Connect Skills Development Programme or for a list of approved training providers who offer tractor driving training, call Lantra on 01982 552646, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lantra.co.uk.
To find out more about safely operating vehicles on farms visit www.hse.gov.uk
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