Project Case Study - Yorkshire Moors Agricultural Apprenticeship Scheme (YMAAS)
Life on a hill farm can be tough, it involves long hours, can be lonely and it’s estimated that some hill farmers earn as little as £6,000 a year. Across the country, as many as 6,000 people left farming last year alone.
The Yorkshire Moors Agricultural Apprenticeship Scheme (YMAAS) is a group of North York Moors farmers who came together over five years ago to address this issue. Since then, YMAAS has provided apprenticeships to encourage young people to pursue a career in the uplands.
Luke is among a group of 15 young people who have been funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund. He lives in Rosedale with his parents, and although his parents aren’t farmers –his father drives a digger and his mother is a hairdresser, he says ‘I’ve always wanted to be a farmer.’ Luke, who joined the scheme after leaving school says ‘I’ve never wanted to do owt else. It’s this – the sheep, the outdoors, the fresh air, and the animals’.
Through joining the scheme, YMAAS has organised work experience for Luke with a shepherd who works for numerous farmers on a large estate. This has meant that Luke has been able to work on a number of farms, meeting different farmers and gaining plenty of experience and skills in the various types and approaches to sheep farming.
For Peter, who runs a farm in Rosedale, having Luke as an apprentice has been a bonus ‘we’re very lucky have him, he’s one in a million: a hell of a good help for me. I know I can ask him to go and do a job, and if I need half a day off, I know Luke is there.’
‘I would recommend that other farmers look at taking on apprentices. Young people start fresh, are trained how to do things properly and bring new energy and experience to the farm.’ Since completing his apprenticeship Luke has not only gained his Level 2 diploma in agricultural and livestock production, but is now working fulltime as a shepherd for the Rosedale and Westerdale Estate.
Fifteen apprentices is a small beginning. Across the country, it is estimated 60,000 new entrants will be needed in the farming industry over the next decade. YMAAS is just one of the 6 apprenticeship schemes being support by The Prince’s Countryside Fund.
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