Project shows benefits of livestock farm apprenticeships

The collaborative industry project will highlight the different routes available toward a livestock farm apprenticeship
The collaborative industry project will highlight the different routes available toward a livestock farm apprenticeship

A new project aims to help futureproof Scottish beef and sheep farms by highlighting the benefits of work-based learning to young people, career influencers and to farm employers.

The Beef and Sheep Farming Careers project will follow a range of agriculture students who are at different stages within their farming career journeys.

The project, by NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland and Borders College, will highlight different routes towards an apprenticeship whether direct from school, college, as a career changer or through a pre-apprenticeship.

The project will help raise awareness of what is involved to both the learner and the employer and showcase the benefits work-based on-farm learning can bring.

The groups hope this will help ensure there is a pipeline of future farm employees who have the relevant skills and knowledge required for the sector.

It will address numerous recommendations raised in the NFU Scotland's Education and Skills in Farming report, which was derived from a series of focus groups within the industry.

They highlighted a number of perceived barriers to employers in hiring an apprentice, with the new project aiming to address some of these barriers.

Planned activity includes a series of case studies showcasing personal experiences from both apprentices, work placement students and employers, shareable infographics, links to existing resources to support employers and a social media takeover.

George Jamieson, skills policy manager at NFU Scotland, said: “Borders College are one of the many high quality organisations delivering apprenticeships in Scotland.

"We are excited to work with them to highlight how they are including sustainability, biodiversity, technology as well as traditional agricultural skills into their programme.

"We look to work closely with the wider college sector and potentially schools on information and collaboration.”

One of the apprentices who will be sharing their story is Rhianna who is currently undertaking a Modern Apprenticeship on Pilmuir Farm, a livestock farm near Hawick.

Matthews Thomson from Pilmuir Farm, who originally took Rhianna on as a work placement student, has encouraged her to move onto her Modern Apprenticeship.

“As a young person myself running a farming business I know opportunities are hard to come by," he said.

"It’s been great to be able to give another young person an opportunity to learn about the industry in a positive manner.”