New research reveals need for CPD framework in agri sector

New research has revealed the need for a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework to be established for the farming sector in Ireland.

The research has been conducted by Skillnet Ireland and its network for young farmers, Macra Agricultural Skillnet.

Speaking at the launch of the research, today, Wednesday, April 17, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed welcomed the report, saying: “This Government is committed to making Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.”

Minister Creed added: “Lifelong learning and upskilling are key to achieving this ambition and are particularly vital in an economy approaching full employment.”

The study found that although many industries have established Continuing Professional Development frameworks and models, no such framework exists within the agricultural sector in Ireland.

Concluding, Minister Creed outlined that the report supports the views of other stakeholders within the farming sector – including the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc – on the value of further developing a culture of continuing professional development for farmers.

Macra na Feirme president, James Healy, also welcomed the report saying: “This report recommends that the initial phase of a CPD framework should be funded to keep costs to farmers as low as possible.”

The research

Over 270 people working in the agricultural sector in Ireland were surveyed as part of the research.

The data was gathered through surveys and interviews, submissions from agri-groups and focus group meetings with young farmers.

Almost 90% of the farmers surveyed said they believe CPD could benefit farmers by improving efficiency, increasing awareness of regulations, enhancing their ability to access finance and providing them with better structures for recruitment and management of staff.

Two thirds of respondents (67.3%) said they are likely to register for CPD points/credits if available, while almost half (47.3%) said they would be willing to pay an annual subscription to manage CPD points/credits.

The report recommended that Macra Agricultural Skillnet leads on establishing an advisory group which would develop a CPD framework for farming.

A link to the report is available here.