Christopher Padfield - Post Formal Education - nurturing and growing talent?
I live on work on a 4th generation family farm on the Gloucestershire / Worcestershire border. It is a mixed farm consisting of a Beef fattening joint venture and growing combinable crops. We have been direct drilling all crops including maize for the last decade. The farm is entered into an HLS scheme which is central to our focus on creating wildlife habitat around the enterprise. We also run some stubble to stubble contracting.
After working abroad in Ghana, Guinea Bissau and France, I worked for a local agricultural college mainly assessing NVQ qualifications. I also achieved qualifications in Internal and External Verification and a PGCE (adult education). I then set up a small training company where we offer training services, mainly LANTRA and City and Guilds qualifications, aimed at the land-based skills sector.
When not working, I love riding motorbikes and drinking whisky. Not a great combination though a recent biking trip to Islay managed to get the best of both worlds.
I would like to thank all those supporting my Nuffield Scholarship, not least the Central Region Farmers Trust for their sponsorship, and my wife and parents for their support and backing.
1. Would other industries e.g. quarrying, the army,etc allow use of large, expensive equipment with virtually no training?
A chance discussion with a machinery dealer reignited a concern of mine regarding machinery operation on farms. It was his opinion that only around 50% of farmers/operators actually use a tractor to its potential, the rest waste money on unnecessary features and inefficient operation. Whilst dealers will 'install' the tractor and offer training, many farmers claim to understand it all, refuse any more help and ignore the operators manual.
When fitting GPS guidance systems, many operators needed three to four visits over a year to actually learn how to set it up and use it accurately for all operations despite claiming that they have understood it all on the first visit. Many machine operators may need 'drip feed' training as they use the machine.
I had three points to ponder
- Would other industries e.g. quarrying, the army, allow use of large equipment with virtually no training?
- Many operators would welcome the use of short video clips which could be downloaded onto phones for setting up machines for particular operations etc
- A quote ' dealers will get professional [re training] when farmers start acting professionally'