Apprenticeships get the seal of approval

"This is what has been missing from our industry for the past ten years. This will help us grow our businesses." This is the very positive endorsement of the new Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture scheme from Kelvin Pate, Aikeyside, Gifford.

His enthusiasm is based on his belief that farming is very much a "hands on" industry and yet in recent years it had ignored those who might want to be involved through working practically.

The new scheme, he claimed, allowed those youngsters wanting to work on farms without having to study and fill in exam papers. Pate was involved in developing the scheme, which is based on on-farm work which is assessed by a college or independent training provider.

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Darren Broadley, an apprentice in Mixed Farming and winner of the Lantra Land-based Learner of the Year Awards, said: "I left school after my 4th year and although I had no roots in the industry, I had always been interested in farming. The opportunity to earn a wage while learning the business was attractive."

He added that he had now gone on to take his HNC in agriculture.

The scheme also has the backing of NFU Scotland, with vice-president Allan Bowie saying the new apprenticeship offered a great opportunity.

"It provides the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time. This apprenticeship allows agriculture to compete with other employers in order to attract new entrants into our industry."