£100 Billion business

Friday 24 June 2016

Shuttleworth College is a member of a new UK-wide organisation bringing the £100 BILLION farm and food industry together with education providers.

The National Land Based College (NLBC) will be an umbrella for leading colleges, like Shuttleworth, universities and industry experts, such as Andrew Davies of Woburn Foods (pictured left), to collaborate on dynamic new courses tailored for, and responsive to, this vital part of the economy. 

In partnership with the awarding body, City and Guilds, NLBC will set new industry-approved standards of excellence, offering clear career pathways and opportunities for advancement. Qualifications will range from foundation-level to full degrees, and will also include a raft of continuing professional development [CPD] options. 

“Farmers and those in land-based industry maintain 75 percent of land in the UK. These custodians of our countryside face diverse and increasing pressures, from the drive towards environmental sustainability to concerns about food security and public health. The goal of NLBC is to equip this, and associated workforces, with the skills they need to flourish,” said Leigh Morris, CEO of NLBC,

“Working for the first time at a co-ordinated national level we can build a pool of resources drawn from the very best minds in education and industry. Collaboratively we will promote land based careers, raise the standard of college courses and create cutting edge training for those already employed. So doing, we will meet the skills needs of the sector today and into the future.”

Shuttleworth Director and Vice Principal of Bedford College Mike Johnston welcomed the move: “We have history of promoting the highest standards in land-based learning and will continue to set these standards farms of the future.”

NLBC’s broad remit covers a vast range of careers, from agriculture and game-keeping to equine studies and landscaping. It will provide blended learning using the ‘hub and spoke’ model – a small central team will form the strategic focal point and run a virtual college providing online teaching; land-based colleges and industry workplaces will deliver the face-to-face and practical training. 

“Our food and farming industry generates over £100 billion for the UK economy, employing one in eight people. We are very ambitious for the agricultural sector’s future and want to see it become a leading career destination for high-flying students, entrepreneurs and new entrants,” said George Eustice, Minister for Farming, Food and Marine Environment,

“I am delighted to see the National Land Based College come to fruition. I believe it will bring much needed coherence to the wide range of qualifications currently provided, offering clear progression pathways and qualification frameworks to encourage our future farmers to continue their education to the highest levels.”

The NLBC development board is chaired by Lord Donald Curry of Kirkharle CBE, and includes 20 directors from across land based industries and education. It is supported by Landex, of which Mike Johnston is a Board member. 

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