31 July 2023
Mentoring matters to Ringlink’s pre-apprenticeship programme.
AN appeal has gone out to growers and growing businesses in the areas of Arbroath, Forfar, Brechin and Ellon who could offer six-month employment to those who have embarked on the Land-based Pre-apprenticeship, offered by Ringlink, to get in contact.
Of the 29 new recruits, four are awaiting a mentor and Ringlink is appealing for businesses from the areas of Arbroath, Forfar, Brechin and Ellon who could offer six-month employment to get in contact. They need not be a Ringlink member to be a mentor.
The vocational apprenticeship offers school leavers or new entrants ta qualification at SCQF level 4, certificated training tickets and six months full-time employment. The work-based model includes essential Health & Safety awareness and provides the fundamental skills, and competency for a relatively inexperienced person to get a ‘foot on the ladder’.
Group Operations Manager Gail Robertson said: “This year, a record 29 new trainees have joined the pre-apprenticeship. It is a remarkable success story for our industry, particularly given the increasing difficulties with recruiting staff for farms and rural businesses.
“In the past 10 years, 189 pre-apprentices have passed through the programme, and 80% are still either working on the farm they trained on or working elsewhere within the industry. The pre-apprenticeship is undoubtedly providing a valuable source of new talent for the land-based sector.”
Chairman of Ringlink James Porter added: “I know from personal experience how rewarding it is, but I am also aware that not every business can either afford the time or the money to take on an extra employee. If you are looking to hire staff however, given the shortage of trained farm workers, it makes a lot of sense to take on a pre-apprentice who is enthusiastic, and hasn’t picked up any bad habits.”
James continued: “Ringlink continues to explore potential routes to financially support mentors with Scottish Government. I am very hopeful that a solution will be found which could lead to a massive expansion in the scheme. In the meantime, if you have a business in the areas previously mentioned, there are some very keen individuals on your doorstep who could bring a fresh and revitalising injection of youthful energy into your business. It is vitally important that we keep bringing young people into the industry and we need more mentor businesses to engage and offer these opportunities.”
Ringlink has sourced funding for the Land-based Pre-apprenticeship from Scottish Government as administered by Skills Development Scotland over the last five years, with just one year remaining of assured financial support. Given the success of the programme to-date, it is optimistic that funding will be forthcoming from Scottish Government to allow the pre-apprenticeship to continue and expand.
Earlier this year, following a grant award from the Loirston Trust, a new simulator has been installed at the Ringlink training centre in Laurencekirk. The simulator allows users to gain initial introductory training on a variety of industry specific plant and machinery such as Tractor, Forklift, Digger, HGV; offering an interactive, safe and cost-effective means of skills development.