Find out about the latest funded training courses and apprenticeships

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Take advantage of hundreds of government-funded training opportunities and help nurture the farmers and farm workers of the future. 

There are a range of government programmes available to farmers and growers who are considering hiring workers, offering work experience or up skilling existing staff.

Find out more now and help upskill your workforce and increase productivity.

Use these quick links to jump to information on:


Apprenticeships are for people aged 16 and over and combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge.

Apprentices can be new or current employees. They:

  • Work with experienced staff.
  • Learn skills and knowledge.
  • Get time off for training or study during the working week (at least 20% of normal working hours).

If you're considering starting an apprenticeship and aren't sure what to expect, have a read of our real-world farmer stories below:

Employer responsibilities

Apprentices must be paid at least the minimum wage.

Depending on the size of your business and the age of your apprentice, you may have to contribute 5% of the apprentice training and assessment costs.

Employers need to provide:

  • A safe work environment.
  • An induction which includes explaining relevant policies and procedures.
  • Opportunities for the student to develop their skills within a farming or horticultural business.
  • 20% of their time must go towards ‘off the job’ training delivered by a training provider during your apprentice’s normal working hours.
  • ‘On the job’ training and support to ensure your apprentice’s success.

Employers also need to have a signed apprenticeship agreement and apprenticeship commitment statement from the learner and training provider.

Benefits to your business

Apprenticeships can be hugely beneficial to your business, allowing you to develop a tailored workforce with the skills your business needs. It also gives your existing employees the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of farmers. 

For more information, visit: GOV.UK | Recruiting an apprentice or check out our business guides below:

T Levels – Industry placements

T levels are a new qualification for young people aged 16 to 19 in England who have finished their GCSEs.

Each T level is equivalent to 3 A levels and helps young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to start a successful career in food and farming.

T level students spend 80% of the course in the classroom learning the essential skills that farm workers need. The other 20% is a meaningful industry placement where the skills learnt in the classroom are put into action.

They are a free, government scheme and there is no requirement for a business to pay a T level student on placement, but you may wish to do so if you want. 

There may be business costs such as time invested in planning, training, and supervising.

Find out more about T levels at: T Levels – vocational training in agriculture is changing

Read our guide for employers at: T Levels – how can employers and industry experts get involved?

Funding to support employers

The Department for Education has introduced a one-year Employer Support Fund to help employers with the costs of hosting T Level placements. Farmers and growers hosting T Level students can claim up to a total maximum of £25,000 per business for eligible costs including:

  • Administrative costs – costs of setting up processes, procedures and systems for placements and providing a physical workspace for the student
  • Training costs – costs of providing staff with the practical skills to support students on placements e.g. mentoring
  • Tangible costs – costs of operating the placement such as PPE or other equipment, insurance, mandatory training, supervising the student on placement and transport for the student

Employer responsibilities

Employers need to provide:

  • A safe working environment
  • Opportunities for the student to develop their technical skills within farming and horticulture
  • A line manager to support, supervise and monitor the student
  • An induction which includes explaining relevant policies and procedures
  • Formal feedback on the student’s progress against agreed learning goals at the end of the placement

T Level benefits

T Levels can help employers by:

  • offering early access to a pipeline of talent for entry level positions
  • help with recruitment
  • improve innovation and help increase productivity.

Free courses and training for employees

We've pulled together a range of funded training opportunities available for your workforce:

Basic skills training

Any adult that does not have a level 2 qualification (GCSE grade 4 or equivalent in English or Maths) is legally entitled to fully funded study up to level 2.

Find out more at: GOV.UK | National Careers Service

English for speakers of other languages

Adults can be fully, or part-funded for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualifications up to level 2.

Find out more at: GOV.UK | National Careers Service

Free level 3 qualifications for adults

Any adult over 19 years who does not have a level 3 qualification (Equivalent to A levels) can choose from over 400 free level 3 courses including courses on agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Find out more at GOV.UK | Free courses for jobs

This page was first published on 10 August 2023. It was updated on 05 February 2024.

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