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Farmers asked to help test skills and careers platform

The new Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH) is looking to recruit English farmers and growers to test and trial its services, before formally launching its online platform to the industry in 2023.

TIAH chair David Fursdon explains that the institute is aiming to support people and businesses to fulfil their potential and help the industry thrive.

“Agriculture and horticulture are undergoing huge changes. As farmers and growers aim to ensure their businesses are profitable and environmentally sustainable, it’s essential that the industry has a workforce that is fit for the future,” he says.

“Continued professional development (CPD) will therefore be key if individuals and businesses are to enhance their existing skills, and in many cases, acquire new ones, to help them successfully navigate the changing landscape. However, the industry’s current fragmented approach to skills and training needs to change.”

Online platform

TIAH is developing an online platform that will bring together existing and new training opportunities from across the industry.

“We’re not looking to replace what’s already in existence,” notes Mr Fursdon. “Instead, we’re looking to work closely with our partners across the industry to bring everything together into one central hub. The aim is that we’ll make skills and career development more accessible to all,” he adds.

“The system will sign-post users to relevant training courses and information, depending on their aspirations. This will hopefully make everyone’s life easier, in terms of understanding what skills are needed for progression, and where they can be acquired.”

Mr Fursdon says the digital platform will also provide independent records and collate personal achievements. “Where required, this information can be used to demonstrate compliance and will also help to simplify audits and record keeping across the industry.”

Pilot scheme

Before making the online platform available to the wider industry in 2023, TIAH is launching a pilot scheme to give farmers and growers the opportunity to help ‘cultivate’ the system its final stages.

“While there is a clear need for such a service, we want to ensure that it’s intuitive to use and that the information available supports professional development in a simple yet practical way,” explains Mr Fursdon.

“We’re therefore looking to recruit active farmers and growers from across England to become ‘TIAH Cultivators’, who can help us test the system this summer.”

By signing up to take part in the pilot scheme, participants will have the unique opportunity to shape the future of agricultural and horticultural skills and careers services, while helping to safeguard the future of the industry.

“All that we ask of our ‘TIAH Cultivators’ is a small-time commitment – approximately 20 minutes every two weeks – to test, review and feedback on various elements of the platform. In return, participants will be entered into a monthly prize draw,” says Mr Fursdon.

Stephen Jacob, BASIS chief executive officer, encourages farmers and growers to get involved in the pilot scheme.

“TIAH wants to ensure that its products and services are built for farmers and growers, by farmers and growers, and this is your chance to have your say and make a difference.”

You can find out more about the pilot scheme and sign up to become a ‘TIAH Cultivator’ here: https://tiah.org/tiah-cultivators/. Anyone who has any further questions should contact Tess Howe, TIAH’s membership and business manager on 0330 174 4290/ 07779 321078 or info@tiah.org

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