Why We’re Established

We live in a rapidly changing world. Current and increasing food and water shortages, concerns about food security and distribution, public health, and the drive for environmental sustainability are all raising the profile and importance of the land based industries. The UK, however, is lagging behind many of our competitors in terms of our workforce training and skills. Many in our workforce have received only basic levels of training, with little ongoing professional development, and in some sectors the links between employers and education providers are not strong. This impacts greatly on our performance and reputation across the whole sector. There is a pressing need to improve workforce skills and our industry’s overall quality and productivity. We are asking ever more of our land based industries, while the challenges they face are growing.

The National Land Based College (NLBC) has been established as a virtual college to address these challenges, combining strong links to specialist colleges and universities, while being employer-driven. NLBC will develop collaborations and partnerships across the sector, and maximise the use of learning technologies and blended learning to aid skills development.

‘The National Land Based College enables us to co-design sustainable programmes for the future of this sector by creating the vital link between industry and education. We need to ensure that talented young people are informed and inspired by the exciting possibilities that land based careers offer. The innovations we will see through this new national college will go a long way to achieving this and I am delighted to see this project come to fruition.’ George Eustice, Minister for Agriculture.

Development Board

A Development Board was created to initiate the set-up of NLBC. This included recruiting and appointing a CEO, establishing our operational structure and financial plans, and applying for Registered Charity status. This Board was chaired by Lord Donald Curry of Kirkharle and consisted of directors from both land based colleges and land based industries:

  • Lord Donald Curry
  • Sally Bendall – ‎Managing Director, Hollow Trees Farm Ltd
  • Joseph Cottingham – Group Director, Watts Farms Fresh Produce Holdings Ltd
  • Andrew Counsell – Principal, Duchy College
  • Meredydd David – Principal, Reaseheath College
  • Andrew Davies – Managing Director, Woburn Country Foods
  • Stephen Davies – Principal, Moulton College
  • David Gregory – Company Director
  • Tim Jackson – Principal, Sparsholt College
  • Jane King – Managing Director, AHDB
  • Richard Longthorp – Farmer
  • Russel Marchant – Principal, Hartpury College
  • Charles Matts – Farmer
  • Elizabeth Philip – Principal, Askham Bryan College
  • Richard Ratcliffe – Farmer
  • Michael Robbins – Principal, Bridgwater and Taunton College
  • John Shropshire – Director, G’s Fresh
  • Janet Swadling – Chief Executive, SRUC
  • Ann Turner – Principal, Myerscough College
  • Stephen Waite – Vice Chancellor, Writtle University College
  • Ian Youdan – Chair, Askham Bryan College

Key Milestones

  • NLBC is formally launched by George Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the House of Lords on 10th May 2016.  130 people attended, with speakers including Kirstie Donnelly (CEO, City & Guilds), Chris Moody (CEO, Landex) and Lord Curry.

    Speeches from the NLBC Launch at the House of Lords, 10 May 2016.
  • The Development Board is wound up and a permanent NLBC Board formed in December 2016.
  • The NLBC Governance Handbook is approved March 2017.
  • The NLBC Strategy and Website launched April 2017.
Our sector needs talent and technology, our strategy explains how we’ll accomplish this

Click here to read it
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