NFUS and Rachael to support agricultural skills pilot scheme

National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) met with Rachael Hamilton MSP to discuss a future agricultural skills pilot scheme in the Scottish Borders.

NFUS have identified skills shortages and with the help of the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire hopes to plug them.

The NFUS already has a pilot scheme operating in Dumfries and Galloway for the Dairy sector. The pilot scheme is a training and skills collaborative to promote careers in the dairy sector. The scheme works with those in the industry with schools, supported by NFUS, SRUC and DYW. The professionals involved act as mentors to the participating students. The 5th year students gain valuable work experience and a qualification credits.

Rachael Hamilton MSP wants to encourage a similar scheme in the Scottish Borders. A pilot scheme to promote the Borders’ agriculture and forestry sector. The aim is to set up working partnerships with both the Scottish Borders sectors and local schools. The scheme will be tailored to address the respective skills shortages in the Scottish Borders whilst also developing the young workforce, and respective industries.

Rachael Hamilton MSP said: "A scheme that will benefit our agriculture sector and develop our young workforce will do tremendous good in the Scottish Borders. I will support and help this project hit the ground running in any way I can.

"Both schools and people in the agricultural community need to put their hands up to get involved. The scheme will be positive for both and needs both to be on board for its success.

"Developing the young person workforce and strengthening our agricultural and forestry sector is crucial to make the Borders a better to place to work and live. Schemes like this will be vital in the future of other sectors to flourish and grow here in the Scottish Borders."

George Jamieson of NFUS said: "NFUS is well aware of the challenges of attracting and training young people into a career in agriculture. We are focussed on working and collaborating with education providers at school, colleges and university, and welcome the interest and actions of policies who take the time to recognise the real and pressing challenges and opportunities for Rural employment.

"We are looking longer term and develop work experience and opportunities on farm and in education that meets the demand of the industry and the expectations of talented young people, which we believe will be a hands on and proactive collaboration between progressive farmers and education providers."