It was great to visit the Irish Farm Centre today Tuesday, 7th July 2015 in Bluebell, Dublin to launch the Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet alongside new Macra President Seán Finan.
Representing Skillnets at the launch was Tracey Donnery. Local Meath young farmersand Macra members Niamh Fagan, Nicholas Coyle and Damien Govern were on hand to add a local welcome for me at the Irish Farm Centre!
The Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet will provide continuing informal training to young farmers. Under the banner of a ‘Farm Cert’, the further training programme for young farmers will deliver the training and skills that young farmers decide they need themselves at a time that suits them. The farmers pick the modules and Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet will deliver the required training. All training is focused upon delivering an outcome for the farmer.
Macra along with partners the Irish Farmers Journal and the Farm Apprentice Board carried out a training needs analysis of young farmers. The results have identified a need for the Young Farmer Skillnet that is being launched today and informed our approach to the programme. This training will provide targeted, informal training
176 young farmers were surveyed with a further 33 farmers interviewed as part of the needs analysis to assess their views. A key finding from the needs analysis was that young farmers have a relatively high level of formal agricultural training however the level of engagement in further training is quite low. There is both a lack of further training opportunities available for young farmers and also no culture
of further training among young farmers.
A lack of awareness of training also leads to an inadequate understanding of the benefits of training for young farmers. The Young Farmer Skillnet that I helped Macra launch today sets out to change this.