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Free Content Agricultural training and the labour productivity challenge

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Brexit, if or when it happens, will be a structural break to the political economy of UK agriculture. Farm businesses that will survive the shock will be those able to offer competitively priced products at home and abroad under a new, currently unknown, environmental, food and trade policy environment. Competitiveness is driven by low unit costs of agricultural production, efficient supply chains and low transport and transaction costs. The cost of labour is a very significant part of unit costs of agricultural production, but it is labour productivity that provides the key to competitiveness and not necessarily low units costs of labour. As in other industries, capital investment in intelligent technologies, which supports decision making that optimises the use agricultural inputs within a sustainable framework and reduce output waste, are the key to high labour productivity. Agricultural training needs to provide new entrants to the industry, whatever their age, with the skills to use performance data for operations and performance management as well as to deliver technical excellence. The LEAN project at Reaseheath College, funded by the Education and Training Foundation, is giving the 2017/18 cohort of Agriculture students a head-start in lean management techniques for agriculture. Reaseheath College will be publicising early results of this project at the end of the 2017/18 academic year and would welcome offers from educators working in this sector to peer review their work. Although the funded project ends this November, the LEAN project itself will run for three years so that its impact on students and employers can be properly assessed.
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Keywords: agricultural training; competitiveness; labour productivity; lean management; standard work; vocational training

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: January 1, 2018

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