Funding will be made available for agricultural courses at the University College Isle of Man.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture is to fund 40% of the cost of the Tractor Driving & Related Operations course and Basic Stockmanship & Welfare course for the first year, in an attempt to bolster the future of the agricultural industry in the island.

Applicants must work within the agricultural sector and should contact the Manx National Farmers’ Union (MNFU) for funding guidance prior to booking their place with UCM.

MNFU can also offer 10% top up funding for members or associates.

There are five courses from which to choose – Tractor Driving & Related Operations, Basic Stockmanship & Welfare, Safe Transport of Animals, Telehandler Award and Computers for Farmers, which covers basic bookkeeping and use of social media in agriculture. The courses on offer support development within the farming community or where there is a legal requirement.

Clare Barber, Minister for DEFA, said: ‘We’re pleased to be supporting the industry through funding for these important courses.

‘Lifelong learning is essential for all sectors and business, and agriculture is no different.

‘Not only do professionals in this industry need to complete training for regulatory purposes, but we also want to support them in expanding and diversifying their business.’

The courses are predominantly accredited by City & Guilds and include either a form of assessment or exam.

Kerry Birchall, who oversees adult learning at UCM, added: ‘The trial is proving successful and goes to show how important developing skills is for everyone.

‘We’re working with lots of different sectors across the Island to ensure that our adult education offering provides the level of training, development, upskilling and reskilling needed.’

Sarah Comish, from MNFU, said: ‘The MNFU has been a key factor in working with UCM, driving for recognition of the need for upskilling in the sector and has been pleased with the engagement of UCM, and the offer of support from DEFA.’

For more information, contact MNFU by emailing [email protected] or calling 662204, and visit to apply for a course.