Training scheme raises level of farming professionalism
Published:  16 October, 2017

The farming community is being encouraged to put themselves forward for a management training scheme, which could save businesses thousands of pounds.

Organised by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the Professional Manager Development Scheme (PMDS) has been created to develop the skills of farmers who are in management positions and empower them to improve communication and understanding and to raise the level of professionalism within the industry. Participants will also be equipped with cross-sector intelligence.

AHDB levy payers will receive a £3,000 discount on the qualification, which is run by training specialists Cedar Associates.

“Getting your farm business in shape and ready for the opportunities ahead, post-Brexit, is now a priority for farm businesses,” said project manager for external industry skills development at AHDB, Tess Howe.

“Paying equal attention to your management skills should be no different and will help deliver tangible benefits to support the longevity and sustainability of your business.”

Participating farmers in the 2016 scheme reported combined savings to their businesses in excess of £250,000.

“This course has opened my eyes and helped me identify issues I didn’t even know I had, and shown me how to resolve them,” explained Patrick Joice, a Norfolk-based arable farmer who is on the current PMDS course. “I’m now much more proactive, more aware and can sort out issues more quickly.”

Launching in January 2018, the 14-month programme will be split over 10 sessions, with each evening discussion followed by a day of management training.

Those who complete the scheme will be the recipients of a formal qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management, alongside a certificate in First Line Management.

To be considered for the course, farmers must impress an interview panel by demonstrating they are already in a role with responsibilities and have the ability to implement change where and when required. Participants must also have the support of their employer.

A limited number of places are available on the scheme and farmers must be able to commit to attend all of the training sessions. Application forms must be submitted by Wednesday 15 November, and successful candidates will be invited for interview on Wednesday 29 November.