With the demand for environmental jobs likely to rise inline with the uptake in green policies being rolled out, the sector is now more so than ever trying to get more people through the metaphorical door to tackle the ever looming labour shortage.
Lantra is one such company, which last year undertook research with over 550 employers to gather insight into more what can be done to bring people into agriculture- now the training body is looking to see if the same appetite is prevalent within the landscaping sector.
Director of external relations at Lantra, Corrina Urquhart says the company’s research found “a high appetite for apprenticeships on farms,” but unfortunately around 90% of employers surveyed “need[ed] help and support.”
The “land-based industry is dominated by micro- and small businesses” which Urquhart says are in “need for an approach that de-risk[s] apprenticeships” for them- in turn creating more opportunities for people entering the sector.
“By piloting new approaches, Lantra hopes to bring in new entrants from diverse backgrounds, as well as aid retention and the development of existing workers in the land-based industries.”
She goes on to say there is a need for more “creative approaches to ensure young people are guided and supported into vocational training as a valued pathway into a career.”
“For too long there has been a focus on getting young people into university, without considering the other options that exist.”
Reaching the younger generation requires a “collaborative effort across the industry so that we can compete with other industries that are investing in large-scale recruitment campaigns.”
In an effort to support businesses take on an apprenticeship, Lantra has released its new Employer Toolkit inline with National Apprenticeship Week.
The kit delivers a “simple ‘how-to’ guide, with practical guidance on what an apprenticeship is, what is involved and the steps that should be taken to find and employ one.”
The company hopes this new tool will “ultimately help with the labour and skills shortages the industry faces.”
Lantra’s research shows apprenticeships to be “under-utilised” in the land-based sectors, despite the practical nature of each in theory going hand-in-hand.
Are apprenticeships in need of a reform?
In addition to its new Toolkit, Lantra “could trial new methods for the delivery of apprenticeship training, whether that is via a flexible approach to full apprenticeship programmes or experimenting with shorter, work-ready training over a six-month period.”
Lantra’s chair of trustees, Dr David Llewellyn CBE, recently gave evidence in parliament on this, laying out what an apprenticeship reform in England could look like- this includes support
for other types of training and in particular, the increased use of short-course training.
Urquhart at Lantra comments that a flexible approach to apprenticeships could see employers sharing an apprentice due to the seasonality of work. While “flexibility would allow work readiness training which is traditionally spread across the duration of the programme (12-18 months), condensed into a front-loaded model, which means the employer benefits from a trained individual with relevant operator tickets from the get-go.”
Want to take part?
While the company’s initial research focuses on farm centric businesses, it is seeking feedback from professionals in the landscaping sector to understand whether the “same appetite for apprentices” as a way to bring career seekers and changers into the sector is present.
Feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.