Farmers are missing out on hassle-free ways to boost their businesses, says an apprenticeship ambassador.
Mike Johnson MBE, whose role covers the East Midlands, says farmers are not aware of the training they and their staff could get to help them gain qualifications and improve their farm's performance.
“A lot of people think you can only use that for a brand new apprentice – taking on a new member of staff – but you can use it for training existing staff,” explained Mike, who is based at Lagat College in Lincoln.
“You can do a skills analysis of people in your business and work out what training they need. Then Lagat comes in and can do that training under an apprenticeship contract, classing the staff member as an apprentice for the duration of training.”
And there are plenty of areas available that may interest members, including business administration, customer services, team leading, retail, accountancy, logistics and livestock.
“People do not need to be out of the business too,” said Mike. “Training and development is on the job and apprentices can be aged 16-plus – there's no age restrictions.”
An assessment team sits with the boss and apprentice and works out a plan. Dependant on what the farm needs, they can tailor-make an apprenticeship.
A training officer works one-to-one with the apprentice and attends site once a month to assess and monitor. A lot of the assignment is recorded on computer which the assessor can see remotely.
The working area is Lincolnshire and its immediate borders, but can go further thanks to Mike's regional ambassadorial role with the apprenticeship network able to help out with providers in their areas. Holland (Lincs) county adviser Danny O'Shea is also an apprenticeship ambassador.
Apprenticeships are free to relevant levy payers and those who aren't have to contribute 5% of the cost. For more information, call Mike on 01522 501300.