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Developing practical excellence
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The remit of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) is to develop the competencies and values of people entering and working in the agri-food industry and to provide them with the capability to contribute to the sustained economic growth of the industry and the development of rural society. CAFRE's annual budget is of the order of £25 million which includes a capital investment of £7 million. It operates over 3 campuses, employs 250 people and develops approx 1800 full and part time students across the disciplines of Agriculture, Equine, Food, Horticulture, and Rural Enterprise. in addition, another 5000 people attend short courses targeted at the land-based industry. CAFRE provides: - •Further and Higher Education; •Industry Training; •Knowledge and Technology Transfer; •Benchmarking business performance •Technical Support to Government Its programmes contribute to this aim by:• Training people to work in the industry• Working with the employers to develop the standard of management through the provision of education and training in practical and managerial skills.CAFRE offers vocational programmes in horticulture and land based engineering to school leavers ranging from Level 2 to Level 3 (EQF Level 4). The learners involved in this project are at QCF Level 3 (EQF Level 4)This project targets students completing the first year of the Level 3 Amenity Horticulture programme and in the second year of a two year Level 3 Land-based Engineering programme. At Level 3, students combine practical skills with the underpinning knowledge needed to work in industry. This programme prepares students to work in the industry as skilled technicians or at operative level in the agric-food sector. This cohort has been chosen because the students have:• Developed the basic skills needed to be able to work in industry.• Recognise the differences in approach to managing a business between the business they are placed with and those to be found in Northern Ireland. • Have experience of the sector and can appreciate the different range of approaches to horticulture/machinery maintenance, management and the add value to the business through the provision of additional services to customers.• Have some experience of working in the industry and can therefore benefit from the opportunity to work with a wider range of enterprises when on placement• An opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills developed whilst on the Mobility to their coursework in the final year of the programme. There is also the opportunity to disseminate the outcomes of the Mobility to students who enrol in September 2016. 12 students from Horticulture and 12 from Land based technology will take part in the Mobility which will last 2 weeks. They will:• Complete 10 days working in industry across a range of businesses• Visit specialist machinery/horticultural businesses• Visit cultural centres. Flows took place in November 2015 (Machinery) April 2016 (Horticulture) when:• Students have developed the skills needed to work in businesses are in a better position to benefit from the learning opportunities this mobility provides. The objectives of the horticulture flow were: The short term objectives of the horticulture mobility were for participants to: 1. Develop specialist horticultural skills by completing a work placement in a Dutch horticultural business. 2. Develop an awareness of the technological advances taking place in Holland. 3. To learn self reliance through the completion of the placement in an unfamiliar environment 4. Enhance their knowledge of plants and horticultural techniques through the placement and also by visiting other horticultural businesses when in Holland. The short term objectives of the LBT mobility were for participants to: 1. Develop an awareness of the level of expertise required to work as a technician in the industry, and of the support available through manufacturers in developing this expertise 2. To develop an awareness of the career progression opportunities available to those who are prepared to travel 3. Develop specialist skills and knowledge that will make participants more employable. The longer term objectives for both groups were to: 1. Improve the employability of participants through the development of new skills and increased self confidence 2. Raise industry standards in Northern Ireland by giving those who are about to enter the industry a wider range of experiences and skills sets. The impact on the individuals has been summarised in the participants report that were completed: 100% participants gained knowledge, skills, competences and professional experience that they would not have gained in CAFRE 91% participants agreed or strongly agreed that they had a better opportunity for an Internship or job in their country following the trip 82% participants agreed strongly that their chances to get a new or better job had increased as result of the Erasmus trip.
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