Workers connected to farming and animal welfare sector.
A new service is being launched to match rural businesses with potential employees and volunteers during the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Skills Matching Service (SMS) will ensure that key businesses, such as farms, crofts and organisations which need help to continue to meet their animal welfare obligations, are able to find workers with relevant skills and experience.
It has been set up by Lantra Scotland, a charity funded by the Scottish Government which works to increase the number and diversity of employees in the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector, and drive their skills development.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said:
“It’s vital the Scottish agriculture sector can continue to produce the food that our country needs. Equally, the industry and individuals must continue to meet our animal welfare obligations.
“This Skills Matching Service (SMS) has the potential to enable everyone with livestock and multiple animals to get the labour support and help they need during the pandemic.
“Our students and staff from colleges and universities; vets and vet nurses furloughed or made redundant, and individuals with relevant transferable skills and experience can play a critical role in offering support in the coming weeks and months.”
Director of Lantra Scotland Liz Barron-Majerik said:
“This new service should make it easier for employers and potential employees with the right skills to get in touch with each other in these challenging times.
“We want to hear from individuals with skills and experience in areas such as agriculture, animal care and machine operation who are perhaps looking for work, a career change, or even those who are just happy to lend a hand, if needed.“
Lantra Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and is meeting the costs of the design of the Skills Matching Service within its current budget provision (£515k).
Since 2004, the Scottish Government has funded Lantra Scotland to help ensure the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector attracts and supports the skilled new workers that it needs. This is done in close partnership with the Scottish Government, education partners, workforce development and skills agencies, trade organisations, membership bodies and individual businesses.
The Skills Matching Service has been developed with the support of a range of organisations including the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), the Scottish Crofting Federation, Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), the British Horse Society, World Horse Welfare, Zoological Society of Scotland, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Edinburgh University, Glasgow University, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Scotland’s machinery rings.
The service will focus on providing skilled and semi-skilled paid and unpaid labour for livestock and animal welfare purposes to land based businesses, animal welfare organisations, animal charities, zoos and others in need of help during COVID-19, while maintaining essential social distancing requirements.