Advanced Training Partnerships
Advanced Training Partnerships (ATPs) offer postgraduate level training to employees working in UK agri-food industries.
ATPs were developed in response to domestic and global pressures on food production systems, recognising that investment in high-level skills training will support the UK agri-food sector to respond resiliently to food security challenges.
In 2010, a cross-departmental government report from the Food Research Partnership Skills Sub-Group, assessed the current status of high-level skills in the UK agri-food sector (see downloads), some key findings of which were:
- The immediate and urgent need in agriculture and food sectors is to increase the skills levels of current owners, managers and workers
- A concerted effort to increase the professionalisation of the sectors is necessary to enable them to respond to the increasingly complex world in which food is produced and consumed
Although high-level skills are reported to be endangered, the UK is in a good position to capitalise on the expertise of the research base, and so recommendations for us to initiate ATPs led to a funding call for training partnerships that would work with industry to deliver training in the agri-food sector.
ATPs will provide postgraduate level professional development in agri-food for a large number of industry specialists across the UK. Employees in the sector will be supported to develop the skills necessary to ensure the UK continues to make significant contributions towards national and global food security.
"Over the next ten years we need 60,000 new people across the skills pyramid which exists within the agriculture and horticulture sectors. This scheme will provide a vital mechanism to develop those skills within the sector."
Richard Longthorp, Chair, AgriSkills Forum
There are three partnerships worth approximately £13M within the ATP initiative. Bringing together companies with research and training organisations, each are formal, sustainable collaborations between end users and providers of high-level skills in the agri-food sector.
Funded from 2011 to 2016, each partnership operates under the leadership of an academic institution and focuses on a particular research area, covering the full range of food production from farm to fork.
Training modules can:
- fit around existing work commitments
- form part of accredited CPD, Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma
- be built into full Masters and Professional Doctorates degrees in agricultural, food and veterinary sciences
All ATPs have developed courses, and from 2012 are beginning to deliver them to specialist staff from a wide range of companies. The training will be delivered flexibly to ensure that it meets the need of the end user, and includes distance learning, short-courses, work-based training, research placements and secondments.
See below our list of partnerships for a case study that used funding from our ATP call.
Sustainable and efficient food production
Led by IBERS, Aberystwyth University
This programme addresses high–level skills needs of pasture based agriculture in the UK, focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact of extensive beef, sheep and dairy farming. www.atp-pasture.org.uk
AgriFood ATP: A strategic training hub for the UK agri–food industry
Led by The University of Nottingham
This programme spans the entire agri–food chain, including soils, water, crops, animals, post–harvest, food and nutrition. The hub will facilitate a vibrant community of industrialists and academics, advancing a range of technical and contextual skills that can be deployed for maximum impact across the chain. www.agrifoodatp.ac.uk
Food ATP: Food quality and health
Led by University of Reading
This partnership brings together industrialists and academics focused on delivering high quality and real–world relevant training for the food and production industries. www.foodatp.co.uk
Professor Jamie Newbold from the Pasture-based ATP, Aberystwyth University
The Pasture-based ATP has been working with companies to develop courses for supply chain and workforce training.
In one of their key areas of expertise, ruminant gut microbiology, they are working with one of the large probiotic companies working in the UK to run a module for both their own sales force and for their customers in the feed compounding industry.
Based on on-going research at Aberystwyth, the module will explore the anatomy and environmental conditions of the rumen that influence rumen digestion and productivity, explore the function of the gut microbiome, and review ways of manipulating rumen fermentation to improve productivity whilst decreasing the environmental footprint of ruminant agriculture.
Through development of this module, the ATP will provide specialist post-graduate level training for companies in the feed compounding industry, giving them a leading edge.