Call for farmers to act as mentors

A call went out yesterday for more farmers to sign up to act as mentors to those involved in the highly successful pre-apprenticeship scheme operated by Scotland’s leading machinery rings.

Speaking at Ringlink’s AGM, managing director Graham Bruce said that the most recent intake had seen 55 youngsters undertake the six-month course which provides not only training but also an introduction to practical work experience on farms and other land based-sector areas of employment.

He revealed that while it was hoped that the Scottish Government would extend its initial backing for the three year project run by Ringlink and Borders Machinery Ring into the future, the machinery rings were also putting a case forward for gaining a level of financial support for those farmers who were willing to act as mentors to those who hoped to have a future working in agriculture.

“At the moment quite a few members don’t employ anyone because they can’t justify the cost of hiring in labour – but if we could get some financial support to compensate those willing to put the time and energy into mentoring youngsters then we would considerably widen the opportunities to help people into the sector,” said Bruce.

Ringlink’s training and development, manager, Peter Wood added that it was critical that the industry was able to help people get a sound footing in working across the various agricultural sectors – a fact already being highlighted by labour shortages in many areas:

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“And with a high percentage of youngsters sticking with the programme and moving on to work in the industry, the pre-apprenticeship programme has given very good results.”

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