Agriculture Forum at Walford

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On Thursday 1st December, the staff and Farm Manager from North Shropshire College’s (NSC) Walford Campus hosted an Agriculture Forum. The Forum is the first of its kind and its focus is to include key stakeholders from the Agricultural Sector in the development of the curriculum, short courses and apprenticeships that meet the needs of employers.

Karen Roberts, Assistant Principal and Head of Curriculum commented, ‘We wanted to bring together the key people in our community who have a vested interest in Walford. Our key stakeholders included governors, farmers, suppliers, past and current students, College staff, the Principal of Reaseheath and industry specialists.’

The forum has been set up for a dialogue to take place between the College and stakeholders about their needs in terms of training, skills and understanding for their current staff and their future staff, our students. Karen goes on to say, ‘We want input from sector specific champions who know what they are looking for in new recruits but also what training they may require moving forward for their current staff. It’s vitally important to us that we develop our curriculum to meet the needs of employers and their input is invaluable.’

The first forum meeting was attended by over 40 people and the event was extremely successful. Current students studying Agriculture were able to ask industry specialists useful questions about what they were looking for in a new member of staff and what entry level into employment was realistic for them at this stage. There were some fantastic offers from delegates to students and tutors to visit their work place and undertake practical tasks or be given a talk.

Meredydd David, Principal of Reaseheath College presented at the event and was keen to explain the benefits to Walford of the current federation model, moving towards merger next year. Meredydd spoke about farming being in his blood as a result of being brought up on a farm and his passion for investing and developing farming facilities in the future.

The Farm Manager Richard Aldis also presented to the group along with Karen Roberts and Curriculum Area Manager, Anna Jones. Richard gave everyone an overview of the farm and its output and how it is evolving and developing. He was able to give some past Walford students a tour of the farm following the forum which was a great bonus for some who hadn’t been on site for some years.

The forum will be repeated termly to ensure ideas are being implemented and that the curriculum is shaped in a way that meets the needs of the students, local employers and Walford Farm.

For more information about the Agriculture Forum and how to get involved, contact organiser, Corrina Cadman on 01939 262176 or email c.cadman@nsc.ac.uk

For more information about courses at NSC, visit the website via www.nsc.ac.uk or call the Admissions Team on 01691 688080.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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