If you work in agriculture, horticulture or forestry in Wales and want to work more efficiently, sustainably and profitably in 2024, updating your Farming Connect personal development plan (PDP), or if you don’t already have one, creating one, is a critical first step.

“Your career pathway and personal development is down to you, but we can provide the support, guidance and training to help you achieve your goals,” says Sarah Lewis, deputy director of Lantra Wales, which delivers the skills and training element of Farming Connect’s lifelong learning and development programme.

The PDP, a secure online tool unique to you, can be accessed through the Welsh Government BOSS (Business Online Support Service) website, accessed via Sign-on Cymru. For the first time, it includes a ‘development needs’ tab that will be updated for you to include all ‘personal development’ conversations you may have had with Farming Connect staff. You can also update it yourself if you identify a new training or development requirement. 

“Having a PDP enables you to identify any gaps in your knowledge, so that you can then select and apply for funding for either Farming Connect’s short, accredited training courses – all subsidised by up to 80% - or our fully-funded e-learning options,” said Ms. Lewis, who explained that with more than 200 courses available, broadly categorised into land, livestock, business and machinery, ‘there really is a training opportunity for everyone’.

Your PDP will help you set out both long-term objectives and short-term goals. The starting point of any client journey with Farming Connect, it is an essential requirement before you can apply for services including animal health and welfare accredited workshops, one-to-one mentoring, the Agri Academy, Agrisgôp programme and most other personal development support projects that are available through Farming Connect.

“Remember that a PDP is your personal journey, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach, but we can help you create a plan which is tailored to your unique needs and aspirations.”

Your PDP will be uploaded to your Storfa Sgiliau account on your behalf. This is Farming Connect’s secure, online record-keeping tool which sets out all your personal skills and achievements, including all activities and training undertaken through Farming Connect.  There’s also a ‘My Space’ section which you can update with other relevant personal development or academic achievements. Storfa Sgiliau is now widely acknowledged as providing essential evidence for farm assurance schemes, retail and wholesale buyers and it can help you set out a chronological cv.  

Ms Lewis emphasised that if you need assistance with any part of accessing or creating your PDP, support is always available, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding weekends and bank holidays). Call your local Farming Connect development officer or visit gov.wales/farmingconnect for contact details. Alternatively, call the Farming Connect Service Centre on 03456 000 813.

Farming Connect has published a useful ‘step by step’ guidance booklet which will take you through the complete skills application process, including accessing BOSS and completing a PDP.