New report highlights crucial skills for rural businesses

February 2021

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Writtle Univeristy College has been named as a key contributors to The South East Local Enterprise Partnership's (SELEP's) most recent report. The report identifies the critical skills needs in rural businesses across the south-east region.

Plumpton College, Writtle University College, Hadlow College and NIAB EMR, set out the following key themes to enhance the supervisory and managerial skills available to UK rural businesses - as well as highlighting the ongoing post-Brexit labour-availability concern for the industry:

  • Develop greater resilience and flexibility in the existing workforce to better meet future challenges
  • Focus on improving business management, technology, finance, negotiation, marketing and entrepreneurship skills to create innovative employees of the future
  • Develop resilience and better ability to manage change rather than being driven by it
  • Create a focus to stimulate and upskill labour in light of the new Agriculture and Environment Bill which has implications on businesses' activities and marketing to an increasingly environmentally-conscious public

The report proposals address some of the key challenges faced by businesses in the recruitment and retention of workers, including the perception of the rural sector, loss of key-employees to other businesses and the relatively low-paid salaries currently available across much of the sector.

By working together, the project partners have set out a clear pathway to address, 'technical', 'business' and 'life' skills needed by both employers and employees, as well as identifying potential business-level training that focus on a multi-employee rather than individual employee qualifications.

The next step for the project is to propose new, flexible training packages across rural and business skills providers in the region.