Training Session Leads Staff by Example

by 5m Editor
25 July 2008, at 9:48am

UK - The first season of meetings for the BPEX Devon and Cornwall training group has gone with a bang.

Over the last five months, a core group of businesses have sent their stock people to interactive training sessions at local venues. The subjects covered have been: Establishing the Weaner, Vet and Med, Controlling Building Environments, Outdoor Problem Solving and Gilt and Boar Management.

The group varied from enthusiastic, but inexperienced, stock people to managers and owners who have committed fully to staff development.

"These meetings are essential, it is important that after the break for the summer the momentum is not lost, they need to keep going."
Rob Lassetter, Dorset pig unit owner

Many of the less experienced stock people were allowed time out of their working day for ongoing training to gain a better understanding of the whole production system. Such units included Bovey Pigs Ltd, WJ Watkins, Cotley Farm and Seaborough Hermitage.

By attending the workshops the managers, in particular Richard Knox, John Dunning and Nick Dymond, not only led their staff by example, but also provided a great source of knowledge for the group.

Rob Lassetter, Dorset pig unit owner said: "These meetings are essential, it is important that after the break for the summer the momentum is not lost, they need to keep going."

Whilst the majority of the workshops have been based around the Pig Industry's own Certificate of Competence - pig husbandry skills - there was also a workshop for managers: Coaching and Developing Staff, run by Cedar Associates. Many agreed that this was possibly the hardest as it moved them from their comfort zone of pig husbandry to the area of staff management, which is fundamental to the future of the pig industry.

The mix of BPEX, vets and allied industry delivering the topics was a great way to take advantage of a wide pool of knowledge.

As a result of the workshops, it is now possible for some members of the training group to get recognition for their skills by being assessed for the Certificate of Competence, which is carried out on your own farm and includes multiple choice questions and practical assessment.

Skills Development Manager Tess Howe and Knowledge Transfer Manager Helen Thoday, who organised the workshops, have reviewed the sessions and are setting the new agenda for the autumn, which will include topics such as Service Management, AI handling and IPPC. Further topics will be determined by participants.

According to Helen: "As a result of demand, it is anticipated the scheme will be expanded to include Somerset and Oxford. If local units can commit to sending staff members on a regular basis the training groups will become a valuable resource for the South West pig industry."