HC Deb 09 February 2001 vol 362 c723W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to follow-up skills deficiencies in land-based industries revealed by skills checks and to secure their remediation through vocational training programmes. [149472]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 8 February 2001]: Some 10,000 skill check training need assessments are being co-ordinated by Lantra national training organisation using funding provided under the action plan for farming. Lantra is aggregating the information obtained through this exercise to compile a comprehensive picture of the sector's training needs at both a national and regional level. Where relevant, the information will be used to help refine the work force development plan which Lantra is currently developing for DfEE.

£22 million has been made available to fund training through the vocational training scheme (VTS) which forms part of the England rural development programme. The VTS is open for applications and farmers who have identified a training need through the skill check programme can apply for funding where they wish to undertake 20 days or more of training. Alternatively, training providers can apply on behalf of groups of farmers. This can be for much shorter periods provided the collective time is for 20 training days or more. Lantra is working closely with training providers to ensure that the funding available under the VTS is fully and effectively utilised to address key skill gaps. The VTS will fund up to 75 per cent. of eligible training costs. To date, just over 90 VTS applications have been received and 20 projects worth some £300,000 have been approved.