A PILOT “uplands academy” is to be based in Cumbria.
The Fresh Start Uplands Academy at Newton Rigg College will be funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund and will be the first of three such academies planned to open over the next year.
Fresh Start is a national initiative concentrating on business skills and those looking to build their own businesses. The Academy will focus on farming but will also cover forestry, contracting and diversification.
The project is due to open in February and will start taking applications from the start of February for around 20 places on the initial course. Principal of Newton Rigg College Wes Johnson said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative and we are delighted to be a partner in the project.
“The academy will cover both the practical and commercial skills needed and is a super opportunity for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit who wants to take the next step in their career or perhaps look at a new uplands-based career.
“The programme will be delivered in bite-sized blocks in February and June, and cover topics such as applying for a tenancy and writing a business plan, and also includes a mentoring system.
“And, of course, it is an ideal fit with our own National Centre for the Uplands, announced last month.” A steering committee has been set up to direct the pilot project, which includes local farmers, land agents, the National Trust, Natural England plus college staff.
Newton Rigg, which is run by York-based Askham Bryan College, offers full and part time courses which include agriculture, horticulture, sport, engineering, equine, hair and beauty, child care, game-keeping and conservation and animal management.
The uplands academy is aimed at people aged 18-plus. Anyone interested in registering for a place should contact Caroline Roy by emailing caroline.roy@ newtonrigg.ac.uk or calling 01768 893400.