Rebecca Pow – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rebecca Pow on 2016-04-15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) horticultural skills and (b) the development of the workforce in horticulture.

Nick Boles

Apprenticeships are our priority for equipping people with the skills this country needs. Apprenticeship starts on the horticulture framework increased by almost 50% between 2009/10 and 2014/15 and there are 2 new trailblazer standards approved and 2 in development.

We are also reforming post-16 provision to ensure that it meets the needs of local labour markets and learners. We have asked Landex, the organisation which represents 36 FE colleges and universities offering land-based programmes and supports agri-food, land and animal science education and training, to undertake a review of post-16 land based provision in England.

This will draw on data and analysis of all land based provision through specialist and general further education colleges, and other providers, and will feed into local steering group discussions and deliberations and into the wider review process.

Their review will highlight national as well as local provision which serves particular sectors across the land based industries. It will take account of for example, the Agri-food industry and Agri-Tech strategy to identify skills needs, and potential gaps in provision, including for higher level skills.