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Funding Boost for Rural Enterprise Work-based Training

Defra has announced a new £20 million scheme to help provide work-based training for rural businesses.

Defra’s Skills and Knowledge Framework, provided through the Rural Development Programme for England, will offer a subsidised vocational training programme to help improve business skills. The Rural Development Programme for England aims to improve competitiveness in the agriculture and forestry sector, safeguard and enhance the rural environment, and foster competitive, sustainable rural businesses.

A £165 million package of support to help rural businesses and communities grow was announced in the Rural Economy Growth Review in November 2011. This includes:
• £100 million from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to help small businesses improve their skills, facilities and competitiveness;
• grants totalling £20 million to extend superfast broadband to the remotest areas;
• £15 million for new Rural Growth Networks to help rural areas overcome barriers to growth such as poor infrastructure, scarcity of business premises and lack of business networks;
• action to make it easier to change the use of farm buildings to address the shortage of rural business premises;
• £25 million to promote rural tourism and supporting its businesses (includes £10 million RDPE funding);
• loans totalling £15 million for community-owned renewable energy schemes; and
• a new action plan to support the agri-food sector, including a £500,000 competition to support innovation and highlight opportunities for growth.

Defra has worked with industry stakeholders to ensure that all training delivered through the Skills and Knowledge Framework will improve businesses’ competitiveness and technical development.

There will be training opportunities in business management and computer skills (ICT), improving resource efficiency, developing leadership qualities, and improving animal health and welfare. Businesses will also be able to apply for training to improve traditional rural and farming skills and take new business opportunities in rural tourism.

Farming Minister, Jim Paice said:
“We’re investing up to £20 million in vocational training to help rural and farming enterprises increase their profits and get more competitive. This is the latest in a £165 million package of support to help unlock the economic potential of our rural areas.”

For more infomration visit the DEFRA website:

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