Hartpury College will use newly-announced government funding to develop and deliver additional training and networking opportunities for the region’s businesses and workforce. The funding will deliver solutions to address specific skills needs in agriculture and agri-technology, identified as priority sectors in the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), led by Business West
Funding of more than £200 million was announced by the Department for Education (DfE) during Green Careers Week (6-11 November). Gloucestershire will receive £2.5m of Local Skills Improvement Funds (LSIF), which will support projects delivered in partnership between businesses and educational providers to offer more opportunities in priority industries. The funding is part of a government drive to plug skills gaps and to grow the economy.
As part of the Gloucestershire collaboration, led by South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College, Hartpury has announced a number of projects that will be supported by the funding over the next six months:
Agri-Tech Short Courses for Professionals
The Agri-Tech Short Courses for Professionals project, delivered through the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre, aims to provide currently employed professionals with opportunities to upskill, enhance their knowledge and stay ahead of the latest advancements in agri-tech. Delivered in the modern surroundings of the Agri-Tech Centre, part of the Hartpury Digital Innovation Farm, the courses will consist of a combination of classroom instruction, practical hands-on training and case studies.
The course content will also support two-way communication between skills producers and employers to ensure that students acquire relevant skills which can be applied in the workplace.
Digital Skills Framework: Implementation and Impact
The Implementation and Impact project will build on the previously announced Digital Skills Framework by implementing a comprehensive web-based app that supports the development and management of digital skills in the agriculture sector.
The interactive platform will serve as a valuable tool for individuals, businesses and educational institutions to assess, track and enhance digital skills in agriculture, agri-tech and land management.
Gloucestershire Agri Food and Rural Navigation Network
This project, which supports the vision of the Gfirst LEP Agri, Food and Rural Business Group, will allow the first phase of the countywide vision to be achieved, ultimately aiming to provide a ‘rural navigation network’ platform to bring together opportunities for upskilling, business, support, innovation and education.
The first part of this project, funded by the LSIF will include stakeholder engagement, resource mapping to identify existing resources, network development, training and workshops, funding and grant support.
There are also plans to create a SMART Livestock Hub that will leverage state-of-the-art technology including sensors, robots, smart screens, cameras and data analytics, bringing digital skills to livestock management.
Claire Whitworth, Deputy Principal at Hartpury College said: “We very much welcome this funding from the Department for Education following a highly effective and collaborative county approach between our colleges, led by SGS College and can’t wait to bring these projects to life in the coming months. This investment will continue to support collaboration between business and education providers to respond to the current and evolving needs of employers, which is something we’re always striving to do.
“Through our planned projects, we’re balancing education and skills, networking, technology and state-of-the-art facilities in order to foster innovation, drive economic growth and promote further digital transformation in the agriculture sector that we’re so passionate about.”
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.
“Whether it is green skills, construction, engineering or digital, thousands more people can now gain the skills they need to secure good jobs closer to home. These are long-term plans that will ensure every area can have a brighter future.”