From education to employment

Clarkson’s Farm: The Kaleb Cooper Effect & Rise in Agricultural Apprenticeships


Many might be tuning into series two of Clarkson’s Farm on Friday to see the latest developments in Jeremy Clarkson’s attempts at farming. Whether inspired or offended by him, it’s probably fair to say that the majority have been far more struck by the contrasting down to earth nature of Kaleb Cooper who has transformed into an authentic star of agriculture.

With farming being a way of life since he was a little boy, perhaps 24 year old Kaleb’s influencer status has contributed to an uptick in Gen Z’ers starting agricultural apprenticeships with provider Skern Training & Skills who create the framework for developing the knowledge, skills and behaviour to succeed. Applicants can qualify as a General Farm Worker, Level 2, to support the operation of farm enterprises through maintaining a culture of health and safety, engaging with third parties, and maintaining crop and cleanliness of machinery, or as a Livestock Technician, Level 3, to learn how to manage livestock related tasks such as animal health and welfare, and to support business productivity. 

Perhaps Jeremy Clarkson could look to improve and consider either or both qualifications to improve his knowledge, skills and behaviour? Especially off the back off another Jeremy (Hunt) announcing plans to explore shorter apprenticeships for the over 50s. 

Skern Training & Skills delivers apprenticeship training with a focus on skills development in the outdoors (whatever the sector that the apprentice is training in) and currently receives a handful of enquiries a year from over 50s, but it has seen a 50% increase in applications for its 24+ age group apprenticeships as more people are deciding to upskill or retrain. Greater support to switch careers allows people to take control of their professional lives, while progressing their own personal development through training and skills development. 

Alex Coyle, Director of Training and Skills at Skern Training and Skills, commented:

“The pandemic has provided a real step change in attitudes towards apprenticeships as people re-assess the best opportunities for them when they leave school. Even subtle changes like apprenticeships having their own page on the UCAS website, demonstrating that they are an equal rather than second choice to doing a degree, is significant. With our agricultural apprenticeship we are seeing more and more candidates choose our apprenticeship over attending college due to smaller more personalised group sizes, on-site learning and the confidence developed by apprentices through learning in practice. This year we will see flexibility becoming more of a driving factor for the take up of apprenticeships, with apprenticeships being increasingly viewed as a real career pathway, with opportunities for individuals look to continuously develop and progress their knowledge and skills level by level.”

Skern Training & Skills a member of various IfATE Trailblazer Groups, provides apprenticeship training to develop knowledge, behaviour and skills programmes for apprenticeship courses to gain qualifications in hospitality, operations, outdoor activities, and increasingly popular in the agricultural sector. Example qualifications are General Farm Worker, Level 2, Livestock Technician Level 3, Hospitality Supervisor, Level 3, Hospitality Manager, Level 4, Operations or Departmental Manager Level 5 and Outdoor Learning Specialist Level 5. Apprenticeships can be undertaken at a range of levels, with Level 5 being the equivalent of a foundation degree, and Level 6 that of a degree.  

Uniquely, Skern Group delivers outcomes-focused outdoor learning activities for all apprenticeship training – not just outdoor-related ones – in knowledge, behaviour and skills. Outdoor activities are incorporated into bespoke apprenticeship training programmes to facilitate positive behavioural changes, such as better teamwork skills, leadership, and overcoming challenges, which are then applied in the workplace.

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