2014-04-28   facebook twitter rss

RABDF Launches New Business Training Programme + Mentoring

A new business training programme for aspiring dairy producers has been launched by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

In collaboration with DairyCo, the NFU and The Andersons Centre, and called Entrepreneurs in Dairying, the programme will offer specialist instruction accompanied by a unique mentoring scheme for those who wish to progress their careers and develop their own farming business.

Tim Brigstocke

Tim Brigstocke

The initiative which commences in September, is being offered at three colleges – Cannington, Somerset; Gelli Aur, Carmarthenshire and Newton Rigg, Cumbria, each with 15 places. The programme organised by RABDF features eight weekly sessions delivered by national industry specialists accompanied by a local farming business. Areas covered will primarily focus on succession planning, and better business and financial management.

Towards the end of the programme, each student will be offered the opportunity to be matched with a mentor who will provide help and guidance for the following 12 months. Each mentor will be fully trained as part of the Get Mentoring in Farming initiative in which RABDF is fully involved.

At the programme’s official launch, RABDF policy director, Tim Brigstocke said: “RABDF has discovered first hand from its previous training and knowledge exchange activities that there is a need among people already working on farms, for example those five years out of college, herd managers and farmers’ sons and daughters without a future on the family unit. They are all keen to progress up the ladder, however to do so they require training in specialist areas such as how to farm in their own right through joint ventures or contracting arrangements and how to run a business.

“Entrepreneurs in Dairying has been developed by RABDF to fill this apparent void, with the help of three complementary organisations: DairyCo offering field officer support and DairyPro professional status; the NFU, the voice of British farming; and The Andersons Centre with a proven track record of advising on the various available business arrangements.

“Furthermore, we are fully aware that farming can be a lonely career and that our course participants would benefit from a ‘guardian angel’ to call up to discuss issues which will enable them to make better business decisions for themselves. One of the unique features of Entrepreneurs in Dairying is the offer of a specialist mentor, fully trained by RABDF in conjunction with the respective college, and matched to the needs of the individual student in their locality. We believe the opportunity for mentoring is an important element to business training which has been sadly lacking in agriculture whilst it is commonplace in other sectors.”

DairyCo’s Rachael Chamberlayne said: “We are delighted to be helping shape this business training opportunity with our team and the DairyPro professional register. We recognise the skills needed to be a successful dairy farmer are acquired over many years and that having a mentor, with good experiences to share, will be invaluable. Aspiring dairy farmers starting their business journey will definitely benefit from constructive criticism and friendly outside views to test ideas and offer reassurance over decision making.”

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison said: “The dairy sector’s future is rich with opportunity, demand for product is growing and our industry has huge promise and potential. This programme is about seeing the bigger picture encouraging and retaining the next generation in the sector and introducing new ideas, business skills and financial management."

The Andersons Centre’s Tony Evans said: “This initiative will very definitely provide all the key management ingredients to assist future dairy operators to move forward with confidence. The key areas covered in this training programme will put all the entrepreneurs in a unique and advantageous position to progress their career and enter the environment of cow ownership and equity in dairying.”


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