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Written Statement - Independent review of learning delivered by further education colleges and the relevance of that delivery in supporting farm businesses in Wales

Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food and Ken Skates Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology

One of the key priorities of this Government is to ensure a thriving agriculture industry in Wales. One of the most important levers available to us in helping to ensure that outcome is through the provision of first-class training and education to those within the industry as well as those currently in education but planning to make farming their career of choice.  

To help us take forward this important work, we have commissioned Professor Wynne Jones OBE, former Principal and Chief Executive of Harper Adams University College, to carry out an independent review of the learning delivered by Further Education colleges in the provision of skills and knowledge to the farming industry.

The review will contrast the learning being delivered with the known developmental needs of the industry, including through apprenticeships. The review will be undertaken in the context of not only the future challenges the industry will face but also, importantly, the many opportunities that will be available to it.

We have asked Professor Jones to submit his review report and recommendations to us by the end of April 2014 and we consider that this work will be of considerable help to us as we seek to further professionalise the agricultural industry in Wales and help individual farm businesses become more profitable, more sustainable and less reliant on direct subsidy payments that we know will reduce overtime.