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.

3. Conclusion


  • This report has outlined the findings of research into the training needs of Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) board members.
  • The survey has collected feedback from both current and previous SAYFC board members and highlights a number of factors for the organisation to consider in developing future training.
  • Overall, young people on the SAYFC board want to make a difference and contribute to the organisation.
  • Survey respondents highlighted challenges they have experienced during their time on the SAYFC board, and this points to areas to address in order to make a positive and productive difference.
  • SAYFC staff should engage with prospective board members early and provide supportive interventions to allow board members to make the most of their time in their role.
  • Mentoring stood out as an opportunity board members feel they would really benefit from, and SAYFC staff should take this into consideration in the future.
  • Whilst it constitutes a small sample, this survey has provided an insight into the demographics of the SAYFC board. There are more females than males on the board (59% compared to 41%), however all respondents were white, and the majority (89%) do not have a disability. Moving forward, the SAYFC should think about diversity and inclusion on the board.

This report has outlined the findings of research into the training needs of SAYFC board members. The results of this survey will inform a new training programme for future SAYFC board members.

This research provides an insight into the motivations of respondents in taking on SAYFC board roles, the training they would like to receive and how they feel about being a board member.

In terms of their motivations for taking on a board role, the majority (92%) of current board members who responded to the survey were motivated by personal development. All previous board members (100%) saw it as an opportunity to network. This survey shows the range of motivations board members had, including seeing it as an opportunity for personal development, to network and to give back to the organisation and continue its legacy.

In terms of confidence before starting their role, most current and previous board members felt ‘slightly confident’ when starting their role on the SAYFC board (41%). Only 6% felt ‘very confident’. Training, mentoring and previous experience helped respondents to feel confident.

Overall, the research shows that SAYFC board members want to make a difference to the organisation and to develop themselves, whilst making friends and other connections.

There is a strong feeling of positivity from the survey respondents in terms of how they feel towards the organisation, however some important issues were also highlighted such as: a need for further training, how to make all board members feel included and creating a better working relationship with SAYFC staff. It is important for the SAYFC to consider the issues raised by board members in this survey, including practical aspects in terms of the organisation’s expectations of those on the board and the type of work it involves. Coming up with solutions and including board members in this process will also provide a positive outcome.

As half of the survey respondents (50%) felt that the role did not meet their expectations, it would be useful for SAYFC staff to engage with board members early on, and to support them in managing the workload of the SAYFC board alongside their own commitments. Early interventions, such as engaging with upcoming board members, offering training to increase their confidence, and creating a better atmosphere for team working would help overcome some of these issues.

Respondents also provided information that would help boost the confidence of board members. Mentoring was the most common response.

When asked about further training and development opportunities, and what has helped them in their SAYFC board role, respondents stated that mentoring is extremely helpful, and they would like to have more of it. Respondents would also benefit from having a structured training programme, tailored to their needs. The programme should take into account the feedback provided here on training that respondents would find most useful. Topics which respondents indicated would contribute to their development on the SAYFC board included: mentoring, leadership training, managing difficult conversations and how to manage the administrative side of the role.

Whilst the sample size of this survey was small by design, it has also provided an insight into the current demographics of the SAYFC board. There are more females than males on the SAYFC board (59% compared to 41%). This gender split is fairly even; however, it is important to note that many women are taking up key roles on the board. In terms of diversity and inclusion, all respondents were white, and the majority (89%) do not have a disability. The SAYFC may want to think about their recruitment strategies in order to create a more diverse board.



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