ARCHIVE: England Rural Development Programme

The Vocational Training Scheme (VTS)

The new Vocational Training Scheme provides funding for training that contributes to an improvement in the occupational skill and competence of farmers and others involved in farming and forestry activities and their diversification.

The scheme provides grants for training if it falls in one of the following categories:

  • information and communications technology
  • business skills
  • marketing
  • conservation and environmental skills
  • diversification
  • resource management
  • personal development for managers and staff
  • looking at new ways of working
  • technical skills in agriculture, horticulture and forestry
  • on farm food production and processing skills.

Anyone can apply but, to be eligible for funding, the recipients of the training must be either: farmers and growers (full or part time); other people involved in agricultural and horticultural activities; people involved in forestry activities; or those involved in the conversion of farming (including horticulture) and forestry activities.

Applicants who are not involved in farming or forestry, for example a third party organising training activities, must be able to show that the recipients are eligible. All applicants have to demonstrate the economic, environmental, hygiene or welfare benefits of the training proposed. Projects that involve less than 20 days of training will not normally be considered. Some activities are not eligible for aid, for example, full-time courses of education and training provided through secondary schools, Further Education Colleges and Higher Education establishments.

Funding is limited to 75% of eligible costs. Where projects involve the use of publicly or part publicly funded facilities, eligible costs are limited to the additional costs incurred in using those facilities for this specific purpose.

The scheme is managed on a regional basis. Applications are assessed against national criteria, to ensure that they are of an appropriate quality, and against regionally set priorities.

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