Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs - board ready training: survey report

This report presents the findings of a survey carried out for the Scottish Associations of Young Farmers Clubs.

1. Introduction

In their final report, the Women in Agriculture Taskforce recommended increased opportunities for women and young people in agriculture to access training[2].

This report outlines the findings of research carried out to understand the training needs of Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) board members. The organisation has highlighted a need for a training programme for young people taking on a board position.

An online survey of current and previous board members was carried out in August 2022. The survey was commissioned by the SAYFC to inform the development of a training programme for new SAYFC board members in 2022/23 and 2023/24.

The survey was carried out by researchers within the Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) division of Scottish Government and designed in consultation with SAYFC members and the Women in Agriculture policy team. This report details results from the survey, which asked respondents questions on their training and personal development needs, including the types of training they have found helpful, what support they have received, their levels of confidence and the types of training they would like to see offered in the future.

This research provides evidence to inform the future SAYFC training programme, and outlines recommendations for its delivery.

1.1 Policy Context

This research contributes to several wider Scottish Government policy aims, including support for young people and women in agriculture. Previous research commissioned by Scottish Government in 2017[3] provided evidence of the barriers that women face in agriculture, including access to training. In 2019, the Women in Agriculture Taskforce published its final report, with a series of recommendations to progress women’s role within the industry, including training for women and new entrants to develop their confidence, business and leadership skills.

This report will progress commitments set out in the 2021-22 Programme for Government[4], including providing more support for women in agriculture and for new and young entrants in farming.

1.2 The Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs

The Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC)[5] is a membership organisation for and run by young people from across rural Scotland. It aims to ensure that young people in rural Scotland are supported to reach their full potential. The SAYFC national board is made up of the National Chair, the National Vice Chair, and all Chairs from the National and Regional Committees. In addition to these voluntary roles, there are also five permanent members of staff on the board. The purpose of the board is to be responsible for the organisation, its reputation and finances. The board also holds legal responsibility to safeguard and protect the organisation. There are around 14 people on the board each year and membership changes yearly. Young people aged 14-30 are eligible to join. The following roles can be held on the SAYFC board:

  • National Chair
  • National Vice Chair
  • Past National Chair
  • West Region Chair
  • East Region Chair
  • North Region Chair
  • Agri & Rural Affairs Chair
  • Comms & Marketing Chair
  • Competition & Events Chair
  • Development & Wellbeing Chair
  • Finance Chair
  • International Chair
  • President
  • Vice President
  • Ex-officio

New training for board members is currently being developed and will be provided in the 2022/23 financial year. Training for both the current and 2023/24 boards is planned to begin in early 2023. This is so the current board can implement training in their term, and the 2023/24 board is prepared for taking post in March.

To ensure the correct training is in place for the SAYFC board, an online survey was carried out in August 2022. The survey was sent to current and previous board members (from 2021/22, 2020/21 and 2019/2020). It focused on a range of topics, from their motivations for becoming a board member, to the level of experience they had before joining the board, how confident they felt joining the board, and the kinds of training they would like to receive in the future.

This report presents the main findings from the survey and outlines several recommendations for the development of SAYFC board training.

1.3 Methods

A short online survey was created in collaboration with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC). The survey was created on Questback and tested, before a web link was distributed by email to current and previous board members (from 2021/22, 2020/21 and 2019/2020).

The survey was live for two weeks in August 2022. It was sent to a total of 28 people, and respondents were asked 15-20 questions depending on their answers. The questionnaire is in Annex B. Respondents were made aware in the privacy notice (see Annex A) that their responses would remain anonymous. Six questions were open text response. The survey was routed for two groups of respondents; those who are current SAYFC board members and those who were previous board members. The survey received a total of 18 responses, giving a response rate of 64%, however it is important to note the small sample size.

The survey also included a set of standard equalities questions which collected data on age, sex, trans history, sexual orientation, disability, religion and ethnicity. These questions were voluntary, and due to the small sample, most of these could not be reported on due to anonymity concerns.



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