Farm Family Skills Training Programme

Farmers and members of farm families in Northern Ireland can apply for up to £1,000 to undertake on-farm and off-farm skills training in Northern Ireland

The Farm Family Options Programme is provided under Axis 1 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, with funding through DARD and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The programme helps farmers and farm family members in Northern Ireland to assess and consider options for personal and business development to enhance the viability of the farm business and potential to generate additional on-farm and off-farm income.

Under the Skills Training Option, farmers and family members aged over 17 can apply for training grants of up to £1,000, plus an allowance of up to £250, to carry out on-farm and off-farm skills training to benefit the farm business or generate additional income off-farm.

Rural Affairs Minister Michelle Gildernew welcomed the reopening of the Farm Family Options Skills Programme: "I welcome the reopening of the Farm Family Options Skills Programme. The focus of the Programme is to improve the skills of farm family members for use on or off-farm. Skills training will enable farm families to improve efficiency on-farm or to source additional income off-farm. I am encouraging all farm families to consider their options and take this opportunity to apply to the Skills Programme".

Training can include, for example:

?DARD, LANTRA or Defra-approved courses.
?Short courses through FE colleges or private training providers resulting in Qualifications and Credit Framework Level 3 or below, or relevant recognised Industry Standard.
?Car & Trailer, PCV Bus and Plant handling training.
The Farm Family Options Programme is managed by the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership. The Partnership is planning a series of skills training roadshows over the coming months to enable applicants to find out more about the programme and look at potential training options.