Career-boosting training courses

30 Jun 2021

30 Jun 2021

A survey run by Farmers Guardian earlier this year revealed 50 per cent of farming employees said they had gained skills independently of their employer, reflecting a desire to upskill themselves. Jez Fredenburgh takes a look at the some of the key training opportunities available.

Whether you are an individual looking to develop your career path or an employer wanting to support staff progression, there are many development and training opportunities in agriculture to tap into.

When looking for training and development opportunities, it is a good idea to start by narrowing down the area of interest, advises Amie Burke, skills development manager at AHDB.

“There is so much out there and you cannot possibly complete everything at once, so where do you begin? “There are many tools and templates to help with this, but a good SWOT analysis is as good as any.

By listing your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats, you can put the weaknesses into an action plan.” She suggests employers and managers also complete SWOT analyses when looking into training for their teams.

Industry bodies who either supply training opportunities or signpost to them include: AHDB; farming unions and membership organisations; Lantra; and Farming Connect.

Here, we take a closer look at some of the initiatives available which encourage self development:

Leadership and People Management

This five-day course aims to develop capable and effective leaders and managers for the food sector through practical application of theory and development of soft skills.

The course includes: how to function as agents of change; improving operational performance and profitability; leadership and management theory required for self-management and the management and motivation of individuals and effective teams.

It is run by the AgriFood Training Partnership at Harper Adams University, and is for graduates, or those with experience in the food industry. Fees are £1,200.

Interested applicants should register their interest at leadership-and-people-management

Entrepreneurs in Dairying

This business training programme for aspiring dairy producers is organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers in collaboration with The Andersons Centre, AHDB Dairy and the NFU.

Many students have gained contacts to help establish or develop their own businesses, including share partnerships and tenancies.

The 2021 course includes sessions about understanding the milk market, future opportunities, people management, finance, business planning and succession planning.

Most sessions will be run remotely this year and will run from September to December.

Cost is £395 plus VAT.

For more information, email, or visit

Nuffield Scholarships

Nuffield Scholars travel anywhere in the world (Covid-19 permitting) for a minimum of eight weeks, in order to investigate an agricultural topic of their choice.

They must present their findings and industry recommendations, including in a written report, at the Annual Nuffield Farming Conference.

A bursary of about £7,000 is given towards travel and subsistence expenses.

Applicants must be aged 22-45 at the time of applying (deadline July 31) and be working in the farming, food, horticulture, rural and associated industries, or be in a position to influence these industries.

For more information, email, or visit

MDS Graduate Scheme

The MDS Graduate Scheme is for future leaders of the food and fresh produce industry.

Made up of a partnership of companies, it aims to equip young people with the experience, training and mindset so they have the confidence and ability to rapidly become senior business leaders.

Trainees gain experience of four roles in four different businesses over two years in the UK or abroad and receive formal off-the-job training, coaching and mentoring.

Trainees are employed by MDS at a salary of £21,500 in the first year and £22,500 in the second year.

For more information, email, or visit

Advanced Agriculture Business Management

This programme is for business owners and senior managers.

It is run by the Worshipful Company of Farmers and held at the Royal Agricultural University.

Applications for the November 2021 course are open.

Fees are £5,275, but assistance is available.

For more information, email, or visit

Leading and Managing

This one-day course teaches participants how to identify their preferred leadership style, develop an awareness of other styles, and when they might be used to best effect.

Costs and location vary with providers.

For more information, email, or visit course/leading-and-managingcourseproviders

Agri Academy Business and Innovation Programme

This Farming Connect programme looks at threats and opportunities facing businesses; personal development; and offers networking with industry experts and business leaders.

Applicants must live and work in Wales.


For more information, email, or visit

Agri Academy Junior Programme

Collaboration between Farming Connect and Wales YFC and is for people aged 16-19.

Applicants must live in Wales and must be an employee, business partner or immediate family member of a registered Farming Connect business.

Students will be considered.

For more information, email, or visit

Women in Leadership

The Farmers Club Charitable Trust awards places every year on the Windsor Leadership Trust’s Women in Leadership course.

The programme focuses on the challenges faced by senior women in leadership roles.

On a residential course, participants hear from inspirational female leaders and cover topics such as: the unique skills and benefits senior women bring; progressing within a male dominated organisation; the barriers and enablers women face; and ways to increase self-confidence and resilience.

For more information, email, or visit

IAgrM Leadership Development Programme

The Institute of Agricultural Managers’ Leadership Development Programme is a masters-level policy course designed for individuals already in management roles with a desire to effect change.

The three-week residential programme also provides excellent networking opportunities between delegates.

Fees are £7,500.

For more information, email, or visit events/leadership-course


#ThisIsAgriculture has joined forces with key industry stakeholders from across the farming sector to promote careers in agriculture, collaborating with industry bodies and industry partners to see how and where we can work together to drive educational reform and provide learning resources.