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Upskilling and training opportunities

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Here we share some professional training providers and bodies:


Aspire Leadership

Training on leadership, communication, management and presentation skills.


Professional qualifications, short courses and online study in a range of professional/business development skills.


Negotiation and GSCOP training delivered by former buyers of major UK supermarkets.

City & Guilds

Various business and finance qualifications.

Impact Factory

Training on communication, leadership, management, resilience and work-life balance.


Hundreds of business and leadership courses, including online ones.


Not a provider, but a useful online search tool for thousands of professional courses around the country.


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Agricultural training providers and programmes


Royal Agricultural University

The university runs the following three-week residential courses:

John Edgar Trust Management Development Scheme

Open to those in southern England at an early stage of their careers and with management experience or potential and who are likely to be future leaders in their field.

Institute of Agricultural Management Leadership Development Programme

Known within the industry for turning out great leaders in the agri-food sector, the course covers
communication and management skills, personal development, EU and international affairs and UK industry leaders and policies.

Worshipful Company of Farmers Advanced Course in Agricultural Business Management

Running since 1963, the course develops individuals’ capacity to understand and manage their own business. It covers business strategy, financial management, change management, communication and more.


Bishop Burton College

The Farm Management Development Programme takes place over two one-week residential blocks and aims to develop young people in a management position in farming or a rural business. It covers: farm budgeting, analysis of farm accounts, people management, motivation,
leadership, understanding the costs of production, benchmarking, communication skills, time management, resource planning and risk management.


The sector skills council for agriculture, it provides a wide range of professional development courses for those in the land-based sector. A good place to search using its online tool.

The Open University

Can’t leave the farm? Try Europe’s largest university and the world’s leading distance-learning provider. It offers a range of short courses on professional development skills.

Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs (SAYFC)

There is a need and desire from young people, industry and employers for further leadership and business skills, so with this in mind SAYFC offers its Cultivating Leaders Programme for its members. Topics include understanding what makes a good leader, business planning and
developing financial skills.

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Joining forces to fund a programme aimed at business managers and employees from small- to medium- sized rural businesses who want to develop skills in leadership and boost their business.


Caroline Mason
Head of agriculture, Co-op

Farmers are facing a changing world and with a growing population it means the next generation will have to produce more food with less resources, alongside practices that ensure a sustainable future.


Farmers and those in agricultural communities will find benefit in having wider skills to help meet these challenges.


Effective negotiation, staff management or financial skills are just as vital as being able to handle machinery or identify a sick animal. To help the next generation get this balance right, training and support has to be a priority.


Co-op is committed to ensuring the next generation of our farmers have the knowledge, skills and expertise to run efficient, profitable and sustainable businesses.


I’m so proud of our Farming Pioneers programme, which has 54 young farmers taking part currently. We have pledged to take at least 100 young farmers through the programme as part of Co-op’s commitment to British agriculture.


We all know farming is challenging, so ensuring our next generation of food producers have the skills they need to meet that challenge is vital.

Shape Your Farming Future series

Shape Your Farming Future series

Shape Your Farming Future is a series of informative and practical guides looking in-depth at issues pertinent to farmers when planning for the future.


The four in this series are supported by The Co-Op and look at Succession, Consumer Trends, Skills and Training and Building Resilience.


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