Soil Association offers scheme for apprentices

Organic growers are being urged to offer work placements to trainees on the Soil Association's new apprenticeship scheme.

The Organic Apprenticeship Scheme, run in partnership with the Organic Growers' Alliance and Organic Advisory Service, is a two-year work-based programme offering practical training to anyone who wants to make a career in organic farming and growing.

Five apprentices, all horticultural, are entering their second year of a pilot scheme, and the Soil Association originally planned for a further 12 to start this autumn.

But the association's horticultural development manager Ben Raskin said that because of the poor year many growers have experienced, not as many had offered a placement as he had hoped.

Raskin added that the scheme was needed because of the current shortage of qualified and motivated staff in the UK.

"I know of five or six businesses that have been looking for growers for months," he explained. "And the demand (for staff) is only going to increase."

The placements are also open to anyone who wants to set up their own organic growing business.

Raskin said: "One aspect I am hoping to develop is post-apprentice support, because the next step after training can be very hard."

He added that the Soil Association's network could help new growers find land available to rent, for instance, or put them in touch with other growers for co-operative marketing.

Apprentice Will Johnson, 26, who is now in the second year of his apprenticeship at Coleshill Organics, based near Swindon, Wiltshire, said: "The scheme is a positive step towards trying to get more young people back to the land."

An open day was held this week (22 October) at Hawkwood College, Stroud, for would-be apprentices to find out about the scheme.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

The UK fresh-produce sector has reacted with dismay at the latest developments in the ongoing debate, largely conducted out of public view, on whether UK horticulture will still have access to seasonal migrant workers when the UK leaves the EU in 18 months' time.

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, a new report argues.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon