Report Segment: Landskills East
Michael Mack is Manager of LandSkills East and Director of the Rural Enterprise Hub at Easton College, which includes bespoke training; a rural business advice service; the Rural Development Grants Programme; and the LandSkills training co-ordination programme. Michael Mack is an interesting case study because he began life as a student at Easton College before becoming a dairy farm herdsman. He later studied Agricultural Economics at reading University, and became Director of Easton College’s Rural Enterprise Hub in 2006. Michael was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 2008 to study “the Next Generation of Farmers”.
LandSkills East is the training delivery vehicle for the Rural Development Programme’s £4.3 million business training budget. It involves an East of England partnership of training providers including Easton College; Poultec; Anglia Rural Training (a consortium of 10 training providers operating in Herts; Beds; Essex; Cambs; Norfolk & Suffolk), and several other smaller providers.
The scheme offers grants to agricultural based businesses (defined as reliant on agriculture for at least 50% of time or income) or micro rural businesses (defined as those which contribute in some way to the rural economy).
For higher level skills the grant can be 70% of cost and 50% for other business related courses. The average grant rate overall is around 65%.
The programme has been immensely successful. Since its launch in 2009 the LandSkills East Programme has achieved:
6078 Level 2 & 3 training places equating to 6887 training days (with over 3000 people trained)
3218 Level 4 training places equating to 4737 training days (with over 1400 people trained)