Education, Skills and Employment Top of Agenda at Seminar

Focus to drive forward collaborative working across industry

Education, skills and employment opportunities within the Scottish agricultural industry was the focus of a specialist seminar held by NFU Scotland at the Royal Highland Show (22 to 25 June).

The seminar, held on Friday 23 June at NFU Scotland’s stand, complemented awareness raising over the four days where the Union and partner agencies engaged with and spoke to those interested in getting involved in agriculture and informing them of the opportunities in the food and farming sectors.

The partner agencies – NFU Scotland, SRUC and other education providers, Lantra, Royal Highland Education Trust, and Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs – have been working collaboratively in recent months to discuss the Modern Apprenticeship scheme which is underutilised by farmers and those looking to enter the industry. Representatives from NFU Scotland, SRUC, Lantra and the Developing Your Work Force scheme spoke at the seminar, with a short video shown which focused on a current Modern Apprenticeship scheme ongoing at West Galdenoch Farm, near Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway.

Going forward, the Union is committed to working with others, right across the agricultural industry, to provide support to education providers to implement the structures needed to create a robust network and encourage Modern Apprenticeship uptake.

NFU Scotland Vice President Gary Mitchell has facilitated the Modern Apprenticeship on his farm at West Galdenoch in partnership with Developing the Young Work Force scheme at Stranraer Academy over the last 12 months. He commented: “Agriculture is such a diverse industry and provides ample opportunity for people of all ages, not just young people, to get involved and learn new skills.

“The Modern Apprenticeship scheme provides an avenue into work, and the food and farming industries, for those keen to gain hands on experience and learn on the job.

“As a Union, we have been working with partner agencies and education providers in recent months to identify where improvements can be made to ensure we have a thriving industry for generations to come.

“This seminar is the first of many events we hope to hold to engage with young people, and others interested in coming into the industry, to inform them of the opportunities available and how to go about getting involved.

“But for this work to come to fruition, we also need farmers and employers in the food and farming sectors, to provide avenues for hosting schemes in their businesses, to open up opportunities to allow these people to learn the trade, and to pass on their skills and knowledge. This doesn’t need to be time consuming and these young people can become a key asset to their businesses.

“The food and farming industry is a huge employer with great potential and NFU Scotland and our partners want to develop structures and options in skills and education that are fit for purpose for the farmers, the educator and the wider sector, by offering high quality, flexible skills and educational options delivered in partnership with industry and education. This initiative seeks to invest in the most important part of any success, which is of course people.”

Notes to Editors

  • For photographs from the education and skills seminar, held at NFU Scotland’s stand Royal Highland Show on 23 June, please email


Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 89/17

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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