According to the Landvolk press service, numbers at the beginning of this year remained stable at 2,070, well above the 2010 figure of 1,700. The farmers have toppled the gardeners from their number one position; at this time 1,578 young people are learning this profession, compared to 1,800 in 2010.
The agrarian education services are well represented with around 200 apprentices, while the figures for prospective housekeepers are currently decreasing, currently at 365 compared to 600 in 2010. Landvolk vice president, Jörn Ehlers, who is also the chairman of the education committee, thinks high-quality and diversified education is indispensable. Of the 13,428 apprenticeship contracts within agricultural occupations nationwide, last year 5,813 were signed in Lower Saxony.
Farmer Matthias Weber agrees fully. Currently he is training the eighth prospective farmer on his farm in Wolligst near Beverstedt. With its versatile operations, his farm really has something to offer these young people. Trainees at Weber’s farm can learn a great deal about the production of consumables or fodder, or the intricacies of husbandry and dairy cattle breeding. "Our trainees are not just labourers; they should also take something away from their apprenticeships," says the farmer about his ideas on training. And he consistently pursues this intent: regular checks of the trainees’ status reports and -if necessary- supporting apprentices are as much part of this as imparting practical skills. For this, Matthias Weber has teamed up with three other instructors from the area, and as a team they prepare the trainees for the practical exams.
"I have never looked at the certificates of any applicants. If it was a good match, we always took in the first one that applied," says Weber. One or two days of trial and error will quickly reveal whether trainers and apprentices are a good fit. After all, they work and live together on the farm for a whole year. "It is important that the interpersonal contact is good as well. The budding farmers do not necessarily have to be particularly fast or strong. It is better that they are careful, especially with the animals," explains Weber. Only a driver's license is essential, but no one has ever applied without one.
Source: Pressedienst Landvolk Niedersachsen - Landesbauernverband e.V.