'Deeply troubling' figures show lack of agriculture apprenticeships in Wales

Just 325 of the 31,360 apprenticeships in 2017/2018 were in agriculture
Just 325 of the 31,360 apprenticeships in 2017/2018 were in agriculture

Statistics show that only 1% of the total number of apprenticeships in Wales were in agriculture despite the industry's value to the economy.

Latest figures from Stats Wales show that just 325 of the 31,360 apprenticeships in 2017/2018 were in agriculture.

This is despite the industry's importance to Wales, which is seen as a valuable player in the country's economy.

Official statistics show that in 2017, 85% of the land area of Wales was utilised as agricultural land, and Welsh agriculture accounted for 3.62% of regional employment in Wales and a total gross value added of 0.59% in 2016. These values are both greater than the UK average.



Farmer and Assembly Member Andrew RT Davies told BBC News that the figures are 'deeply troubling'

“We need to drive knowledge into the industry so we can add value to the basic product that farms produce the length and breadth of Wales - quality products,” he said.



Apprenticeships are seen as the government’s preferred training route for young people entering the industry.

In 2017 the UK government emphasised its commitment to delivering a successful national apprenticeships programme – setting the challenging target of achieving 3m starts across all sectors of the economy by 2020.

Specific to food and farming, the Conservative manifesto made a commitment to treble the number of apprenticeships, meaning the industry would need to achieve around 3,000 starts a year.

The Welsh government says it will create at least 100,000 apprenticeships over this current Assembly term.