The National RDPE Skills Framework is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-2013 which is funded by the EU and the UK Government and managed by Defra.
There are 32 approved training providers on the Framework, which will last until the end of the current Programme in March 2014
The aim of the Framework is to provide training provision which will result in the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for individuals working within the agricultural, horticulture and forestry sectors.
Defra says it will also aim to put in place some training provision for small business and individuals in rural areas within the traditional rural skills and rural tourism sectors.
There are six themes to the Framework:
1. Business Management, Leadership and ICT Skills for Agriculture, Horticulture & Forestry
2. Knowledge Transfer, Innovation and Technical Skills for Agriculture, Horticulture & Forestry
3. Agricultural Animal Health and Welfare
4. Marketing and Supply Chain Efficiency for Agriculture, Horticulture & Forestry
5. Resource Use Efficiency in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry
6. Traditional Rural Skills and Rural Tourism
The contract for Management and Business Skills in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry has been awarded to Traineast, a collaboration of 38 English training groups, see www.ukruralskills.co.uk
The contract for Leadership has been awarded to ADAS, as has the contract for for Uplands Technical skills.
The contract for Technical Skills in Livestock has been awarded to AHDB, as has the contract for Knowledge Transfer in advanced technical skills in crops and for Animal Health and Welfare, see www.ahdb.org.uk
The contract for Advanced technical skills in Viticulture and Viniculture has been awarded to Plumpton College, as has the contract for Resource use Efficiency, see www.wineskills.co.uk
The contracts for Supply Chain Efficiency and Benchmarking, Environmental Land Management, and Market Opportunities have been awarded to University of East Anglia (UEA), see www.ccalandskills.co.uk.
In early 2013 Defra intends to publish a further tranche of Specifications and these will be likely to include Traditional Rural Skills and Rural Tourism Skills
Until December 2013 there are slightly different arrangements in the North West and South West of England.
Information for applicants, see rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk