The ‘Dairy Skills Initiative’ - DG Employability Award

West Galdenoch Dairy Farm has played a key role in driving investment in our young people, through the DG Employability Award. The ‘Dairy Skills Initiative’ is a unique partnership involving Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) NFU Scotland,  Lantra, Dumfries & Galloway Employment TAP and Skills Development Scotland. It offers school leavers with no previous far, experience 12 week placements on local fairy farms, at no cost to the host farmers.

In October 2015, Gary Mitchell, of West Galdenoch Dairy Farm, had the opportunity to take on two local modern apprentices, Reece Hannah and Craig McStay. In Gary’s own words:due to low milk prices, we could really only afford to employ one full-time person”, due to the costs and time involved in training them. However, these two young peopledid attract government funding through different streams, especially in    regards to training, with Total Access Point funding 50% of the modern apprentices’ wages for 6 months […] This was a real help to our business, because we could take on the two guys at the same time, which made time off for training easier to accommodate. Throughout the six months, Reece and Craig have completed SVQ Level 2 in Agriculture, Reece has completed an artificial insemination course and Craig has completed a fork/telehandler course. They have both become valuable assets to our business, and while the funding has now come to an end, we now have two fully trained employees”.