Morrisons is to launch a £2 million apprenticeship fund which will be used to train the farmers of the future. The funding will be used to ensure that British farming has enough people being trained to meet the UK’s food needs. The average age of UK farmers is 59 and only 3% of UK farmers are under the age of 35. Some 70% of farmers believe not enough young people are coming into farming.
Farming is facing a recruitment challenge with fewer farmers’ children wanting to run the family business. Some 15% of farmers named succession and inheritance as the largest issues threatening family-run farms today. Additionally in towns and cities there may not be enough knowledge of the countryside to generate an interest in farming. Amongst 18- to 24-year olds, 16% say they have never visited a farm and the aim is to attract more people from urban areas into farming.
Morrisons’ programme and apprenticeship funding will equip would-be farmers with the broad skills needed. It will also upskill apprentices with the business knowledge of how to provide for food manufacturers and retailers like Morrisons.
David Potts, Morrisons Chief Executive, said: “We are British farming’s single largest customer and so it makes sense to invest our apprenticeship fund so that more new farmers can be trained to provide food for the nation. We hope that people from all backgrounds will be attracted to these important jobs.”
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers Union said: “The NFU welcomes this announcement by Morrisons to provide additional funding for the training of farmers and growers. Improving skills is a key part to unlocking productivity gains on farm and vital in addressing the future challenges and pressures that farming faces. Training and skills development also ensures there is a professional, flexible and reliable workforce as well as helping to attract new entrants to the industry"
The Morrisons programme will include:
People interested in taking up the Morrisons Farming Apprenticeship Scheme can apply by visiting the Morrisons farming website at https://www.morrisons-farming.com/