THE current Hill Farm Apprentice Scheme run by the Dales Farmer Network is drawing to a close.

Thanks to funding from the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme, six apprentices have achieved their level 2 or 3 National Diploma in work-based Agriculture (Livestock) with Askham Bryan College.

They have also undergone additional training including tractor and ATV handling, pesticide safety, sheep shearing, cow and sheep foot trimming, chainsaw use, self-employment and trailer towing road licence. After 18 months on the scheme the apprentices have all found employed or self-employed work on farms.

Apprentice Tom Stapleton from Skipton said: “The scheme has been an excellent opportunity for me. The skills training has been superb and I have learned so much from this, my college course and from the farmers who have employed me.”

The Farmer Network now hopes to run another apprentice scheme in the Dales starting in September. Apprentices spend three to four days a week working on farms with the remainder of the time spent on college or practical training courses.

It would like to hear from anyone aged over 18 who is interested in a career in upland farming and would like to join this scheme and from any Dales hill farmers willing to help apprentices by having them work on their farm.

The network helps with employment costs and pays for all the skills training – subject to funding.

Anyone interested should call the network office on 01768 868615.