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.


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Viticulture - training and development

Visit to Three Choirs Vineyard, Gloucestershire

Posted by Christopher Padfield on March 31, 2015

Appears in Business, Horticulture

Three Choirs Vineyard is situated near Newent  and is approximately 100 acres, with 75 acres of vines, a winery, a restaurant and both rooms and lodges for guests to stay. Kevin Shayle, the Winery Manager, kindly spent the afternoon talking about staff training and management. 

All staff at the winery undertake training that is required by law and/or deemed mandatory by the business.  This would include First Aid, Forklift Trucks, Food Hygiene, and Manual Handling.  Depending on the area of work, additional training could include COSHH, HACCP, PA1,PA3, and PA6.

Assurance schemes run by BRC and SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) lead to independent inspection of businesses and provide a  robust safety and quality certification programme.  It was very important to ensure traceability throughout the wine making and selling process.Kevin Shayle

Three Choirs








Additional skills training had been accessed via the WineSkills initiative.  This is managed by Plumpton College who organises workshops, masterclasses and mentoring for the UK wine production industry. Kevin's staff had accessed courses on pruning, marketing, trunk diseases, wine making etc.  However it was a possibility that the funding for the WineSkills initiative may have run out and may not be renewed.

Kevin explained that the United Kingdom Vineyards Association  (UKVA) is split into 7 regions and these regions could come together to create an industry led training body.   In addition, should those directly involved in the wine making process want further training this could be accessed via the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), though this was not been done at present.

  • What would an industry led training body consider to be the skills most needed to grow the viticulture industry in the UK?



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