Soil Association: Organic Apprenticeship Scheme in the UK
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The Soil Association is officially launching its Organic Apprenticeship Scheme this month following a one-year pilot phase, which ran from September 2007-08 with five apprentices on four different Soil Association certified farms and businesses ranging from a 350 a week box scheme producer to a B&B and restaurant that grows all its own produce. The two-year programme will enable apprentices to focus on mixed or single enterprises, as well as the option to study other farm types and models.
The main aims of the Soil Association Organic Apprenticeship Scheme are to offer a structured, practical training package to encourage young employees and new entrants to organic farming, growing and food production and to train apprentices to a high standard of practical skill and knowledge and therefore to help maintain a highly skilled and talented work force for organic farms. Organic farming is to be promoted as an attractive career choice and practical advice and inspiration for school children, students and careers advisors is to be provided. Mutually beneficial relationship between the mentor and the apprentice are to be achieved. A social network is to be provided for all apprentices involved to give them the opportunity to build relationships through training, meetings and social events.
A report for the Soil Association found that organic farms provide on average 32% more jobs per farm than equivalent non-organic farms, help revitalise rural economies and encourage younger, happier people into agriculture. Widespread conversion to organic farming in the UK would result in an estimated 93,000 more jobs on farms alone - an increase of 32%.
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