Policy areas

Skills & Training

Skills deficits and lack of training to address them are a major issue for landworkers in general as well as for common good land users. There is a serious workforce shortage with increasing amounts of young British people no longer seeing land-based work as aspirational. It is difficult to design courses covering all the skills required by land-based social enterprises. Where land-based training is available it is often fragmented. Additionally, especially in the newer models favoured by land-based social enterprise, land-based sectors can lack clear career paths towards sustainable livelihoods. On the other hand we think training provides an opportunity. Land-based projects can make training a key part of their business models, and even play a role in addressing UK workforce shortages.

Key issues:

  • Not enough people find land-based work aspirational. The benefits of working in common good land use are not coming across to the general public.
  • The work can be difficult, and working conditions can be unstable.
  • Pathways to livelihoods and opportunities in the land-based sector can be unclear.
  • Despite widespread public support, training programmes for common good land use struggle to secure sufficient fees or funding.
  • Delivering land-based training is difficult, requires a wide range of skills in itself, and can struggle to raise enough income to be sustainable.
A lot of land-based social enterprises are delivering high quality training. This helps address deficits in land-based skills, and often also helps fulfills their social and environmental missions.

What needs to change:

  1. Local and national government should support land-based social enterprises to deliver training aimed at supporting new entrants or addressing their other strategic objectives. This might mean:
    • Financial rewards for land managers who support and train new entrants
    • Commissioning social enterprises to train public sector staff or to deliver services such as supported employment
  2. Land-based sectors and professions could also be big beneficiaries, and supporters, of training from land-based social enterprises, for example through Continuing Professional Development
  3. Move towards creating coherent training and employment pathways through partnerships within and between the land-based sectors.
  4. Make land-based careers aspirational by highlighting the innovation, entrepreneurialism and social and environmental benefits involved.

Further resources and projects:

  • National Land-Based College – an organisation set up to coordinate land-based training
  • OrganicLea – run a wide range of accredited and other courses – see their website for more information
  • Kindling Trust FarmStart – a great example of supporting new entrants to commercial farming
  • Bright Crop – set up to highlight interesting and exciting opportunities in farming and food supply

Scroll down to the posts below to read the latest updates on our work in this policy area.

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Related publications

Research reports and publications written by the Shared Assets team

Related news and opinion

Blog articles, news and opinion pieces from the Shared Assets team

New report: Training for Common Good Land Use

Many land-based social enterprises offer great training programmes. Furthermore, delivering, hosting and otherwise facilitating training can play a big role in their financial sustainability. Read our short new report, Training for Common Good Land Use, to learn about what needs to happen to help more social enterprises develop their training offers.

Read more

The skills needed to make land work

Lacking any one of the many skills needed to run a land-based social enterprise can block progress. This applies to social entrepreneurs without the requisite land management experience, experienced land managers who need to develop new business models and even landowning organisations who may lack the expertise to manage their land strategically.

Read more

Skills: a changing landscape

To be able to build new environments and economies, we support the development of a land-based workforce, embodying a mixture of ancient knowledge, traditional skills and contemporary social entrepreneurship. Read more

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