National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

 
 


External agricultural training


A fresh approach to training

VQs

Accidents in the workplace cost money and cause needless suffering to the individuals and families involved. Few farmers would argue against the benefits of avoiding accidents but farming often involves long hours, with few “days off” to undertake training. So how can busy farmers and growers take positive steps to ensure their staff are properly trained in order to reduce the chance of an accident occurring and comply with the law?

One solution is to consider vocational qualifications (VQs). These are ideal if you need to improve practical knowledge or skills in a specific area. VQs differ from traditional academic qualifications in that they are ‘hands on’, focusing much more on learning practical skills.  The learning process can also be a combination of formal training and learning undertaken at home (distance learning).  They should not be confused with National Vocational Qualifications, known as NVQs (or SVQs in Scotland), which generally require much longer to complete.

Historically, many health and safety training courses or qualifications have not fully addressed the hazards and risks associated with farm work or have required a length of study time that would be impractical for most farmers or their staff.

With these factors in mind, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and industry groups including  the NFU, Lantra Sector Skills Council, and Unite, the Union, have worked together to develop this new training and qualification package.

The qualifications are recognised on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), the new system for recognising and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.   They are available at two academic levels, so will be relevant to the capabilities of most farm and horticultural businesses, employing workers, self-employed farmers or growers, as well as supervisors and managers.

Both levels are easily manageable and require no more than 30 hours of study at each level. In practice, most people will require far less time to complete them. The key point is that farmers and growers now have access to comprehensive and relevant training and qualifications for health and safety specific to their workplace.

What's covered?

The VQs have been designed to meet the needs of the industry and will enable staff at all levels to:

  • •    Understand how accidents and ill health can adversely affect individuals and business performance.
  • •    Be aware of the main causes of accidents and ill health in the industry and how to prevent them from occurring.
  • •    Address key health and safety issues for agricultural and horticultural businesses.
  • •    Know the key elements of the law and where to get information and advice.


For those individuals who are self-employed or have management responsibilities, completing these VQs will also enable them to:

  • •    Understand how to undertake risk assessments and communicate the findings to staff.
  • •    Be aware of appropriate standards of training and competence for people working in the industry.
  • •    Select appropriate contractors and work equipment to meet health and safety requirements.
  • •    Understand how health and safety fits in with the principles of good health and safety management.


Which VQ is right for me?

Level 1 qualifications are introductory awards, ideal if you are just starting out or are new to a subject area. They cover routine tasks and basic knowledge or understanding. But with the health and safety VQs, candidates start at the next level.

Level 2 qualifications require you to already have some knowledge and experience of the subject area.

Level 3 qualifications cover more complex work and could be used to develop supervisory abilities as well.

How do I do them?

HSE has worked closely with the awarding bodies and other stakeholders to develop learning materials and training courses to help facilitate greater uptake and, most importantly, ensure that they fit in with the busy lives of those who work in the sector. Learning materials are based on case studies of real farm and horticultural accidents, and web-based learning tools and assessment questions.
To complete the qualifications, candidates need to pass an assessment test.  This involves a straightforward multiple choice test for both level 2 and 3, with a workplace based assignment (based on risk assessment) also required for level 3.  Completing either level 2 or 3 will give you 3 credits under the QCF.

Where can I find out more?

Speak to your local training provider group, assessment centre or college to find out more about the qualifications and training courses in your area.  Information is also available on the awarding body websites at www.lantra-awards.co.uk or from City and Guilds NPTC at www.nptc.org.uk. See also www.healthandsafetypractices.co.uk for helpful tips on how to undertake the VQs.

 

Lantra Awards: Dry stone walling qualifications

Lantra Awards, one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations in the land-based and environmental sector, has introduced a new suite of Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) qualifications in Dry Stone Walling.

The qualifications have been developed in partnership with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DWSA), supported by Lantra Sector Skills Council and based upon the Dry Stone Walling Association’s Craftsman Certification Scheme. It is open to volunteers, employees and self-employed craftspeople of all levels that wish to be formally recognised for practical skills in dry stone wall building and maintenance.

The Level 1 Certificate in Dry Stone Walling is aimed at learners starting out in the profession and helps to teach the basics, including building and repair work, as well as the use of copestones. Level 2 helps the learner to develop these skills further and encompasses new techniques such as building a cheekend section.

Those wishing to complete the Level 3 Certificate will have to undergo more advanced training in the building of dry stone walls, including specific features in an optional unit within the qualification.

For more information about the Lantra Awards’ Level 1, 2 and 3 Certificates in Dry Stone Walling (QCF), contact Lantra Awards on 02476 419 703 or visit www.lantra-awards.co.uk.

 

Developed by Lantra and Sector Skills Councils


Diploma in Environmental and Land-based Studies

Diplomas are the most significant development in education since the introduction of GCSEs.

If you live in England, you have the option to study for an exciting new qualification called the Diploma in Environmental and Land-based Studies.

It has been available in some schools and colleges in England since September 2009, and will be available across the whole country by 2013.

 It’s all about the environmental and land-based sector and includes subjects such as:

  1. Working with plants.
  2. Environmental sciences.
  3. The way we use land for the production of food and just for having fun.
  4. Working with all kinds of animals.
  5. Looking after forests, wetlands and wild areas.
  6. The effect we have on the world around us and how to limit the damage we do.

You can start to study the diploma at the age of 14 (years 10-11) at either foundation or higher levels and you can continue right up to the age of 19 at advanced level.

You will study in several different ways, not just in the classroom. You will be given the chance to spend some time in a real working environment and hear from people who know about these subjects first hand. Your studies can help you prepare for a career, an apprenticeship, other training or a college or university course.

What are the benefits of completing the diploma?

  1. It will give you a head start in the competitive employment market.
  2. You will get a valuable insight into one of the UK’s main employment sectors – without committing yourself.
  3. The diploma allows you to go on to university or get a job. The choice is yours.
  4.  The diploma gives you the knowledge and skills that employers and universities are looking for.

 Click here to find out more about the diploma

 

FarmSkills


For the latest details of Farmskills courses click here

FarmSkills courses are a new programme of practical, business-focused workshops available across the country. Run by vets and industry specialists, they concentrate on delivering high-quality information in a hands-on way and can lead to a LANTRA Awards qualification. Workshops are mainly held on farms and in groups of six-eight people.

In many areas of the country, RDPE funding, managed by LANTRA LandSkills, helps reduce the cost of a course to as little as £45 per day.

Ways to get involved

  • Log on to the FarmSkills website to see what types of courses are available.
  • Earn money for your club by organising a workshop. Get together a group of six-eight people aged over 16 who work for a farm with a UK holding number. Pick a subject you would really like to learn more about. Contact the FarmSkills Office on 07854 063384 to set up the workshop. Every person you find is worth £15 in finders fees.

Case studies

Matthew Webster, a 22-year-old beef farmer from Yorkshire has done two FarmSkills courses; one in preventative foot trimming and another in DIY AI. Matthew says: “Being able to DIY AI my own stock and trim their feet measn I can be on top of my job a lot quicker and have a better chance of sorting out problems before they become serious. It’s great to be able to access really practical courses that deal with technical skills and make me a more confident farmer.”

Alex Burrows, from Shottle in Derbyshire, attended a FarmSkills course in mastitis control. “I learned lots of really useful tips from vets who know their stuff – since being on the course, I will be testing every case of clinical mastitis I get so I know what the problem is and how I can work with the vet to cure it and stop it becoming an issue in my herd.”

 

Warwickshire Rural Hub – Autumn/Winter Events

From Meat Retailing to Nutrient Management, Mole Catching to Grain Marketing - for news of training events and workshops visit www.ruralhub.org.uk

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