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New training partnership to support agri-food sector

Posted 4 July 2017

"The new AgriFood Training Partnership brings together the activities of the three former Advanced Training Partnerships into a single entity. This rationalisation will provide an easily accessible one-stop shop for high level training provision within the agri-food sector."

Harper Adams University is one of six university partners involved in the new AgriFood Training Partnership (AFTP) which launched today.

All of the universities involved are internationally recognised leaders in agri-food research and training. Collectively they’ll be offering over 150 courses and workshops in all areas of agricultural production, environmental protection, food manufacture, scientific research and development and associated business and transferable skills.

The new AFTP builds on the heritage of the three previous Advanced Training Partnerships (ATPs) in agrifood, food and pasture. These three partnerships were all funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with the primary aim of translating cutting-edge research into applied industry expertise within the agri-food sector. Collectively since 2012, the ATPs have delivered short course training and postgraduate qualifications to over 1500 individuals from more than 700 businesses.

Andy Wilcox, Head of Crops & Environment Sciences at Harper Adams said: “The new AgriFood Training Partnership brings together the activities of the three former Advanced Training Partnerships into a single entity. This rationalisation will provide an easily accessible one-stop shop for high level training provision within the agri-food sector."

Carol Wagstaff, Professor in Crop Quality for Health at the University of Reading and Director of the AFTP stated: “We are delighted to be in the privileged position of receiving a further £1.5M from BBSRC to enable unification of the AFTP and expansion into new markets both at home and overseas.

“The launch event marks the start of a tremendous opportunity for us to work together with the agri-food sector to deliver the skills the industry needs to drive increased productivity, profitability and sustainability for both pre and post farm gate agri-food businesses. In an era of climate change, food insecurity and an ever growing population, the AFTP is helping the industry’s best talent to deepen their knowledge, advance their skills and progress their careers through flexible training opportunities and continuing professional development.”

Karen Lewis, Interim Executive Director, Innovation and Skills, BBSRC added: “The agri-food sector is one of the UK’s largest industrial sectors, employing 3.9 million people, and delivering an estimated £20.1bn in exports. BBSRC is pleased to be funding the development of this high level skills programme that will enable the agri-food industry to benefit from the cutting edge knowledge and skills needed to improve productivity and grow the bioeconomy.”

David McAllister, Head of Skills and Careers at BBSRC stated: “A highly skilled and productive workforce is vital for the UK agri-food sector for it to remain globally competitive and contribute effectively to UK productivity and the industrial strategy. The AFTP, advised by industry practitioners, will help exchange cutting-edge knowledge and skills from the higher education research base to industry. This opportunity to improve skills whilst remaining in work is invaluable.”

People interested in finding out more about courses and training opportunities are encouraged to search the new AFTP website, where visitors will be able to search courses by location, format and subject area and book directly online. The website will contain up-to-date news and blogs from industry and testimonials from current and past students and alumni. 

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