Page 28 - Farm labour in the UK
P. 28

meeting place for social gatherings, and facilitating such gatherings wherever possible. Arranging coach trips off-site (to theme parks, for example) and organising transport to social events if housing is far from the social centre.
“A few years ago, Wi-Fi was a luxury. Now they would not come if you didn't have Wi-Fi. So, every other farm must be providing Wi-Fi. Because they wouldn't get anybody. I think everybody is doing some of this stuff. It is just how much of it and whether it is in the ethos to try and do it, to understand that they are the most important people here” (Farmer 3)
Due to the fact that many domestic workers will still refuse to be accommodated on farm, employers will need to be flexible wherever possible. This might include the provision of parking at work-sites or arranging transport from urban areas.
Training and career progression
“A lot of farmers have got labour cut to such a bare minimum you can’t really take on three or four completely unskilled people and train them. Some of the bigger businesses might be able to but a lot of the current typical farming businesses won’t. So, if there was something in place to enable people to get the basic skills and then move into agriculture, that is probably the way forward” (Farmer 2)
Training is a key issue for both seasonal and permanent farm work. For seasonal work it is time- dependant and can be costly. And where labour is scarce, this limits the ability of more experienced staff (currently more likely to be migrant workers) to train non-experienced workers.
For permanent workers, Nye (2021) discovered that few farmers were offering additional training to their workers, especially formal courses, which proved off- putting to potential staff. Training employees can be costly, and there is a risk that trained employees might leave a business. Solutions need to be reached whereby employers are able to train workers, which
for some might require a level of subsidisation to remain competitive with larger holdings. This might entail some kind of ‘halfway’ training scheme similar to the Access to Agriculture scheme run by Harper Adams, a strategy which in principle would also work well for new entrants from the varying sections of society discussed later in report.
“I think that is the issue. There is not a step, there is not a small step, it is like one huge leap” (City farm 1)
It is recognised that formal training does not work for all individuals, regardless of their abilities, therefore practical training can help bridge the gap for capable workers who are discouraged by formal education.
“I think sometimes just the word college puts people off. Often we will have work experience students referred on weekdays. They will come one day a week to us and actually they are amazing. They are really intelligent young people. They just can’t focus in that way in school. It is not the way they learn” (City farm 1)
Without the means to develop and progress within a role, individuals are less likely to be attracted to a career in farming. Businesses need to look to offer constant development opportunities for workers, especially permanent, salaried staff.
“So, trying to create a structure which actually encourages people to take a more focused look at either their own skills, but also in the context of our discussion, the skills of their employees and potential recruits, I think is going to be helpful in just generally raising standards. I think also in terms of getting that engagement from workers, that they feel valued, that they feel that their skills are being invested in” (Labour expert 2)

   26   27   28   29   30