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Stackyard News Jan 2011

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Giving the Pig Industry a Poke

A new scheme, funded by LandSkills North East, is aiming to improve the prospects of the North East’s pig industry by increasing professional standards and skills at all levels.

BPEX Knowledge Transfer Manager for the North, Jen Waters

Jen Waters

Delivered by BPEX, the North East Pig Industry Training project will start in February and offer a range of training courses from pig husbandry to business management.

This project demonstrates the Pig Industry’s commitment to training and development.

LandSkills North East, which is managed by Lantra Sector Skills Council on behalf of One North East, is funding the project to the tune of £5,700 as part of the Defra and EU funded Rural Development Programme for England.

The ultimate aim of the project is to ensure the region’s pig industry is professional, skilled and well placed to able to promote itself to local consumers. Currently the sector is facing issues of staff retention but it is hoped that an increase in skills and career opportunities will encourage people to stay in the sector, and attract new recruits to secure its future.

John Crossan, LandSkills North East Project Support Manager tells us why they are supporting this project: “Through this project LandSkills North East is aiming to provide flexible and relevant training to all levels of staff and to give people the chance to meet with others working in the industry. Long term we want to motivate farmers by providing them with the skills they need to improve their business performance and encourage ongoing training and discussion within the industry.”

Designed to encourage participation, the training will be delivered mainly through discussion groups lead by specialist speakers including industry vets and with virtual tours of indoor and outdoor units. Training for stockmen will be based on the NPTC Certificate of Competence in Pig Husbandry Skills. There will also be extensive business and management advice including marketing, risk management, environmental awareness and improving farm health and welfare.

BPEX Knowledge Transfer Manager for the North, Jen Waters, said: “The region has already established an enthusiastic Pig Discussion Group and this funding will help to develop more training courses and activities. Pig producers should grab the opportunity to help their staff and businesses benefit from new knowledge and skills. And if producers have specific requirements we can help organise and tailor the training.”

Adrian Sherwood, RDPE Manager at One North East, added: “This training will play an instrumental role in developing the North East pig sector. Engaging with the sector and supporting skills development is integral to securing its long term sustainability and competitiveness, while simultaneously promoting animal health and welfare and environmental benefits.”

When the project ends in March it is envisaged that the sector will be equipped to encourage further skills development through an established, independent CPD scheme, the Pig Industry Professional Register. Farmers will also be encouraged to use visits to investigate different systems implemented elsewhere that might help improve production efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint in the North East.

To find out more about any of the courses available through the North East Pig Industry Training project contact Jen Waters at BPEX on 07969 792022 or email

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