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Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding has been allocated to Gloucestershire in each of the last five years for re-training of farmers; and what proportion of the funding came from funds allocated for foot and mouth recovery. (75042)

The principal mechanism for funding the re-training of farmers is the Vocational Training Scheme (VTS), set up as part of the England Rural Development Programme and administered by DEFRA’s Rural Development Service. Under this scheme, applications are accepted from either training organisers, or eligible individuals.

A small amount of funding (£6,713 in 2005 and 2006) has been awarded to individual Gloucestershire farmers, for training in plumbing, LGV driving and technical farming skills. However, the vast majority of VTS funding has been awarded to projects that operate on a wider geographical area, either focusing on general business skills, diversification opportunities, or skills development related to specific farming activities, in order to maximise returns.

Examples of the training available to Gloucestershire farmers are shown in the following table:

Project holder

Nature of project

Amount funded (£)

South West of England Land Based Colleges (SWELBC)

Region-wide programme, jointly managed by Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, and Duchy College, Cornwall. Training in business and technical skills.


UK Dairy Academy

Raising technical and business performance of dairy farmers.


Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester

Market training for the agricultural industry.


Abacus Organic Services

Various organic farming courses.


Cotswold Machinery Ring Ltd./7Y

Training for members on business development, marketing, environment and biodiversity, IT.


Alpaca Education and Training Centre

Courses on all aspects of alpaca farming.



Benchmarking for egg production businesses.


Rural Business Skills Ltd.

Marketing for profit.


Kite Consulting

Waitrose Select Farm Group Benchmarking Project.


Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCo)

Raising standards of organic milk production in the South West.


Business Link Devon and Cornwall

South West Rural Enterprise Gateway—training to improve farmers’ occupational skills and competence.


Vocational Training Scheme funds are separate from those allocated for foot and mouth recovery.