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A good educations - master any skills you may need for a career in the countryside

PUBLISHED: 01:50 27 June 2012 | UPDATED: 10:36 21 February 2013

A good educations - master any skills you may need for a career in the countryside

A good educations - master any skills you may need for a career in the countryside

Liz Shankland, a broadcaster who runs smallholding courses in Wales, has just written The Smallholders' Manual. Here's her advice on how to be fully trained for a career in the countryside....

Doing your homework

and getting some

experience under your

belt is essential, so

find some training

courses to master any skills you

might need.

Locate the nearest agricultural

college and see what courses it offers.

Many colleges will run tailor-made

smallholder courses, which will give

you an overview of everything from

land management to livestock

handling, while others may only run

one or two day sessions on particular

subjects, or more formal training

courses, which will give you

recognised qualifications.

Courses in traditional rural skills,

such as hedge-laying and drystone

walling, are extremely useful. If your

local agricultural college does not

cater for such things, try conservation

organisations such as the British

Trust for Conservation Volunteers or

the Wildlife Trusts. They often offer

training opportunities to volunteers

and organise work parties so you can

hone your skills under supervision

before you have to go it alone.

It may also be worth getting in

touch with Lantra, an independent

skills agency for the land-based and

environmental sector in the UK. The

organisation works with colleges and

other training providers to provide

courses for farming families and

employees, often at discounted

prices. You will, however, have to

satisfy a list of criteria, as the courses

are aimed more at those employed

full-time in a particular industry.

There is an increasing number of

enterprising smallholders, running

their own training courses. These can

be great value, but they can also be

incredibly expensive for what you

actually get.

For a lot of people, price and

travelling distance will be the two

main deciding factors when choosing

such a course but what about the

quality of the training?

Doing your homework and getting some experience under your belt is essential, so find some training courses to master any skills you might need.

Locate the nearest agricultural college and see what courses it offers. Many colleges will run tailor-made smallholder courses, which will give you an overview of everything from land management to livestockhandling, while others may only run one or two day sessions on particular subjects, or more formal training courses, which will give you recognised qualifications.

Courses in traditional rural skills, such as hedge-laying and drystone walling, are extremely useful. If your local agricultural college does not cater for such things, try conservation organisations such as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers or the Wildlife Trusts. They often offer training opportunities to volunteers and organise work parties so you can hone your skills under supervision before you have to go it alone. It may also be worth getting in touch with Lantra, an independent skills agency for the land-based and environmental sector in the UK. The organisation works with colleges and other training providers to provide courses for farming families and employees, often at discounted prices. You will, however, have to satisfy a list of criteria, as the courses are aimed more at those employed full-time in a particular industry.There is an increasing number of enterprising smallholders, running their own training courses. These can be great value, but they can also be incredibly expensive for what you actually get.For a lot of people, price and travelling distance will be the two main deciding factors when choosing such a course but what about the quality of the training?

􀁌􀀀How qualified is the course tutor?

How much relevant experience does

he or she have? If the course is run by

a relative beginner, how sound is

their knowledge?

􀁌􀀀What will you be taught on the

course? Find out exactly what will be

covered and see if it suits your needs.

􀁌􀀀How hands-on is the course? If,

for instance, imagine that the course

involves animal husbandry. Will you

have the chance to get involved and

to attempt various tasks such as

handling, tagging and injecting, or

will the tutor merely be

demonstrating?

􀁌􀀀How many people will be in your

group? Too many and you may not

have the chance to try out a

technique.

􀁌􀀀Will there be course materials to

take away? There may be handouts

summarising the days activities or

giving more information.

How qualified is the course tutor?

How much relevant experience doe she or she have? If the course is run by a relative beginner, how sound is their knowledge?


What will you be taught on the course?

Find out exactly what will be covered and see if it suits your needs.


How hands-on is the course?

If, for instance, imagine that the course involves animal husbandry. Will you have the chance to get involved and to attempt various tasks such as handling, tagging and injecting, or will the tutor merely bedemonstrating?


How many people will be in your group?

Too many and you may nothave the chance to try out a technique.


Will there be course materials to take away?

There may be handouts summarising the days activities or giving more information.

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