Farmers and growers across the UK will need to make urgent changes as the UK switches to a net zero-focused economy. A new green skills centre launched in Kent aims to provide the knowledge and support to thrive.

The UK’s only rural and land-based college has launched a green horticultural skills accelerator offering bespoke courses and training to deliver future success as the country shifts to a net zero economy.

Hadlow College (part of North Kent College group) is seeking to provide farmers and growers with both the pipeline of talent and the expertise they will need as de-carbonisation gathers pace.

State-of-the-art technologies installed at Hadlow College will showcase the future of farming. An experimental vineyard and orchard, previously featured in South East Farmer, will introduce students to the latest sustainable methods of food production.

A third of UK businesses do not believe their workforces are equipped with the skills necessary to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The new green horticultural skills centre at Hadlow will help farmers and growers across the South East make the most of opportunities that a net zero economy will bring. 

As well as offering training and refresher courses, the green skills centre provides a space for businesses to see the future with the opportunity to work in partnership, accessing support and expertise to tackle the challenges they face in adapting to a more sustainable world.

The centres, funded through the Government’s Strategic Development Fund scheme, are part of a broader strategy to skill up the country, as well as employers, with the skills needed as old carbon hungry technologies are phased out and a new chapter begins.

David Gleed, Chief Executive and Executive Principal, North Kent College, said: “We are thrilled to be a part of this sustainability project. As we progress, we will be looking to engage with as many businesses as we can and invite them to join us and our further education sector partners in devising new skills solutions that will support career opportunities now and in the future. The opening of our new centre at Hadlow College is just the start.” 

Green Horticultural Centre, Hadlow College (part of North Kent College)

Training courses at the new centre will showcase sustainable methods of food production in a newly installed commercial greenhouse and robotic concept vineyard and orchard, Delta-T devices that measure soil moisture, automated spraying and robotic harvesting will all form part of the training now available, supporting students in developing their skills using the latest technology and equipment.

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