The very first national Level 6 Degree agronomy training programme for the Professional Adviser Standard has been launched by leading crop production specialists, Hutchinsons.
This is the only degree standard agronomy training scheme in the UK, and raises the bar to a new level for in-house agronomy training in delivering an industry-specific Professional Adviser qualification.
The establishment of the Professional Adviser training programme within the Hutchinsons Foundation reflects a significant investment by the company, and demonstrates their commitment to training its personnel to the very highest standards.
“The farmer of the future is going to need an agronomist who understands everything up and down the supply chain – from soil microbiology to biodiversity, precision farming, aspects of farm business management as well as a focus on culture and behaviours,” explains Paul Hobson, Hutchinsons Training Manager.
“Also in these days of higher environmental standards and diminishing numbers of active ingredients the agronomist must be fully aware of every possible action to solve any particular problems – in short – a successful agronomist needs more than just BASIS, FACTS and BETA-Conservation training in order to service their clients so that farm businesses remain profitable and sustainable.”
“As a business we need to ensure that our agronomists are best placed to offer the very highest level of service – and the Professional Adviser programme puts us in the unique position to do just this.”
He points out that Hutchinsons already has several apprenticeship programmes operating in the business for personnel working in the warehouses, involved with logistics, office administration staff as well as for drivers, so investing in people is nothing new.
The development of the Professional Adviser Standard was led by Mr Hobson as the Trailblazer Chair for the across-industry group supporting its creation. “This means it has been tailored to meet the very high standards associated with agronomic advice, takes 30-months to complete and all companies in our industry sector can adopt it. The Professional Adviser Standard fits in to the well-established and respected Hutchinsons Foundation Programme and this now also runs concurrently for a period of 30 months.”
“The structure of the Professional Adviser programme is such that regular reviews map learner progress and achievements. Individual targets are set and assessed throughout. Training will be provided both through in-house experts and also external trainers as necessary.”
“The first cohort are just starting their training and in 30 months we will see the first graduates. These are very exciting times for anyone looking to pursue agronomy as a career with a mind to the broader context of what tomorrow’s adviser will be expected to offer.”
Ben Jagger has recently finished a four year degree at Harper Adams University, where he studied BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management. He had an interest in pursuing a career in agronomy and crop production and was aware of the Hutchinsons Foundation Programme.
He joined the Foundation and is now one of the first cohort to participate in the Professional Adviser Standard. He believes the training will put him in a position to deliver the most comprehensive level of agronomic, environmental, legislative and crop husbandry advice to his future clients.”
“The role of an agronomist is expanding; with recent changes to the Agriculture Bill and uncertainty of our forever changing climate, the role is becoming much harder and more complex,” he says.
“Therefore being able to advise growers in more depth across all the aspects of crop production will be very important in the future to ensure growers can maintain and lift production, quality and yield.”
“Being in the Hutchinsons Foundation and achieving the Professional Adviser Standard will be a rewarding qualification which will no doubt hugely benefit my career.”