FARMING: Addressing rural Scotland’s gender imbalance

Women of all ages and profiles pass one their significant farming skills to young people.

By Rory Murphy

A new scheme will address inequality and provide greater opportunities for women working in or interested in a career in rural and aquaculture sectors.

The Women in the Rural Economy Training Fund will give women the chance to develop their skills and talents with the help of £100,000 worth of practical training provided by the Scottish Government. The fund follows the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund, which opened in January.

This will help address the current gender imbalance within a range of industries, including aquaculture, conservation, fisheries, forestry, horticulture, land-based engineering and wildlife management, amongst others.

The scheme will be administered by Lantra Scotland and will provide practical, skills training with full funding of up to £500 per course. Support for courses above this value will be assessed on a case by case basis by a review panel.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:  “There is a clear need for providing women in our rural communities with more access to training and re-skilling opportunities. We know that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women’s jobs and incomes.

“This is the second training fund that we’ve launched for women in rural communities this year. We’re investing in their futures and ensuring that there is no gap in provision when it comes to upskilling women with technical knowledge and practical training experience.”

Lantra Scotland Director Dr Liz Barron-Majerik MBE said:  “We are delighted to be able to play our part in helping to support women access and develop careers in the rural land-based and aquaculture sector, and to extend the work we are already doing with the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund. Businesses with a diverse workforce are more resilient, able to appeal to a wider market, and better placed to solve problems in innovative ways. This is great news for rural Scotland.”

The Women in the Rural Economy Training Fund is open to any woman resident in Scotland who is either already working in or studying in the sector, full-time or part-time, or who is keen to start work in this area, who can demonstrate how the training course will support the development of their business or employment options.

Courses eligible for funding can include: business skills; environmental and sustainability; health and safety; vehicles, machinery and equipment; financial, technical or those covering machinery and equipment training. For guidance on eligibility, what you can apply for, or any part of the funding application process, contact scotland@lantra.co.uk.

The fund is open from Saturday 20th February 2021, and applications should be made through Lantra Scotland. Applications must be received by 31st March 2021.

Women involved in agriculture and looking for training, should apply for the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund instead.

Down on the farm, where women are an integral part of rural life.

 

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