CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

A Good Education

PUBLISHED: 22:44 20 June 2012 | UPDATED: 22:03 21 February 2013

A Good Education

A Good Education

Liz Shankland, a broadcaster who runs smallholding courses in Wales, has just written The Smallholders' Manual. Here's her advice on how to be fully trained for a career in the countryside.

Doing your homework and getting some experience under your belt is essential, so find some training courses to master any skills you might need.

Locate the nearest agricultural college and see what courses it offers. Many colleges will run tailor-made smallholder courses, which will give you an overview of everything from land management to livestock handling, while others may only run one or two day sessions on particular subjects, or more formal training courses, which will give you recognised qualifications.

Courses in traditional rural skills, such as hedge-laying and drystone walling, are extremely useful. If your local agricultural college does not cater for such things, try conservation organisations such as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers or the Wildlife Trusts. They often offer training opportunities to volunteers and organise work parties so you can hone your skills under supervision before you have to go it alone.

It may also be worth getting in touch with Lantra, an independent skills agency for the land-based and environmental sector in the UK. The organisation works with colleges and other training providers to provide courses for farming families and employees, often at discounted prices. You will, however, have to satisfy a list of criteria, as the courses are aimed more at those employed full-time in a particular industry.

There is an increasing number of enterprising smallholders, running their own training courses. These can be great value, but they can also be incredibly expensive for what you actually get.

For a lot of people, price and travelling distance will be the two main deciding factors when choosing such a course but what about the quality of the training?

Ask yourself this




  • How qualified is the course tutor?How much relevant experience doeshe or she have? If the course is run bya relative beginner, how sound istheir knowledge?


  • What will you be taught on thecourse? Find out exactly what will becovered and see if it suits your needs.


  • How hands-on is the course? If,for instance, imagine that the courseinvolves animal husbandry. Will youhave the chance to get involved andto attempt various tasks such ashandling, tagging and injecting, orwill the tutor merely bedemonstrating?


  • How many people will be in yourgroup? Too many and you may nothave the chance to try out atechnique.


  • Will there be course materials totake away? There may be handoutssummarising the days activities orgiving more information.


Reproduced from the Smallholding Manual, byLiz Shankland, recently published by Haynes.To order a copy, visit www.haynes.co.uk

Liz keeps pigs, sheep, and poultry in Wales andruns smallholding courses at TV presenter KateHumbles farm in Monmouthshire.

More from Out & About

Friday, October 19, 2018

Is this the ultimate city break? Winchester has it all: from ancient history to space exploration, plus cafes, cocktails, culture and countryside… But with so much to do, choices are going to have to be made

Read more
Friday, October 19, 2018

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Remember, remember… Here’s a quick round up of some stunning displays across Hampshire this year

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

The community shop is thriving. Why? And what makes the perfect village store? We went in search…

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

From Jane Austen to Karl Marx, our towns and villages have fascinating links to some of the biggest historical celebrities. Viv Micklefield follows in their footsteps with the help of a blue plaque or two

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Our guide to some of the best Halloween events on offer across Hampshire this October

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We round up 8 things you didn’t know about this little South Downs village

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Enjoy some easy walking around the Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve says Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

Head to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the charming villages of Brighstone and Mottistone, taking in superb views, an ancient monument and enchanting gardens with our new walks writer, Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

With the centenary of the end of World War One commemorated this year, the reopening of the iconic Royal Victoria Chapel, part of our military heritage, is timely

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre

Read more
Monday, September 17, 2018

Avon Valley, Beer and Cake is the ABC of why Ringwood, a busy market town on the western edge of the New Forest, makes a quirkily clever choice for a break away

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Lego enthusiast Duncan Titmarsh has built his business brick by brick; from tinkering in his garden shed to internationally acclaimed sculptures

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory



Property Search