WSGA strategy report

West Sussex growers have recently released an update to their strategic plan for developing horticulture in their area. There are three key priorities that have been identified.

Strategic Priority 1

Ensure that planning and land use policies support the sector and identify suitable locations for development.

Strategic Priority 2:

Improve understanding of the sector with local communities.

Strategic Priority 3:

Improve the attractiveness of the sector to young people and potential recruits.

Priority one focuses on transport especially the A27 , energy and water conservation and looks at the need to make suitable land available outside the existing Horticultural Development Areas based on the area around Tangmere and the rump of the old land settlement association site at Runcton.

It is framed around the need to move towards all year round supply chains to meet the “needs” of the dominant retailers and raises the issues of food security and import substitution.

The third area of course falls within the remit of our Growing Jobs project so I’ve reproduced a small part of the report here.

The WSGA plans to update their recent training needs analysis of the local industry. The Association recognises that

  • The Industry is highly technical; knowledge based and requires well trained management and staff.
  • There are a wide range of specific training courses available for operational staff.
  • A new accredited course is being developed for the ornamental sector with the HTA/HDC. The course could be rolled out to other sectors after a trial. This will take over 2 years.
  • “Bank” schemes for seasonal work-loads have proved to be successful. ( see the case study on this site about Humber VHB)

Links with Education and Training Organisations

  • The provision of horticultural degree level courses at universities throughout the UK is declining; leading to a shortage of Horticultural Graduates.
  • A review of degree courses needs to be prepared from allied sectors, e.g. arable farming and vegetable production.

Schools

  • Strengthen links with local Primary & Secondary Schools.
  • Encourage individual Horticultural Businesses to form strong links with their local Schools.

Industry Specific Training

  • Growtrain provides a range of courses and has the capability to design and deliver bespoke courses.
  • The Industry needs to further communicate its requirements with local providers.
  • Develop relationships with Lantra.

Education Business  Partnership

  • Links between the successors to the Education Business Partnership and WSGA need to be strengthened.
  • Strengthen links with local Primary & Secondary Schools.
  • Apprenticeship and Work Experience schemes should be encouraged and developed.

The full report can be downloaded from the WSGA site here

 

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