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First Young advisors training week has passed fruitfully

Within the framework of the Erasmus+ pilot project “Young EUFRAS Mentoring and Training Program 2022/23”, 20 young agricultural advisors from seven European countries are being qualified and networked.

From 28th November to 1st December the first week of Young advisors training was conducted. 20 young advisors from  Slovenia, Austria, Latvia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Estonia, and Ireland came together for the first training week in Novo Mesto in Slovenia, organized by The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia.  Slovenian CECRA certified trainers Igor Hrovatič, Jana Žiberna and Marinka Korošec had the privilege to coach young agricultural advisors from different parts of Europe.  The first week of the seminar focused on the training of interview skills within the framework of the two CECRA compulsory modules 1 (My profile as a counsellor) and 2 (Communication and relationship building in counselling).

Similar challenges

Advisory services are key to keeping current and future farmers interested in food production and thus contributing to food security. Young agricultural advisers face similar challenges to young farmers in entering and staying in the agricultural sector, including gaining exposure to new opportunities, gaining credibility and support. The programme aims to encourage young people to pursue a career in the advisory service and to enable them to better understand the value of working in the agricultural advisory service and the contribution it makes to food security, the preservation of the agricultural landscape and the maintenance of rural life as we know it. The programme provides training and mentoring to young advisors in the European region, with a focus on sustainable and equitable food systems. The programme has the advantage of including opportunities to practice hard and soft skills that can provide young agricultural advisors with the tools for an effective and rewarding career in extension work. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to obtain the full CECRA (Certificate for European Rural Advisers) certificate during the programme.

Skills in practice

On the last day, the participants took the step into practice and practised counselling on two farms. The seminar day was led by Pablo Asensio and Karoline Schramm. Pablo Asensio is responsible for extension education and training at the State Management Academy for Food, Agriculture and Forestry and is on the board of the European Forum for Rural Advisory Services (EUFRAS). Karoline Schramm is head of the department L 2.3T Supra-regional tasks on farm animal husbandry at the AELF Kitzingen-Würzburg, is a member of the VELA board and active in the forming European network of young rural advisors Young EUFRAS.

Natascha Medle is a winter vegetable and flower producer and asked for advice on crop rotation and marketing. At the Karlovček fruit farm, the farm manager Andraž Rumpret was advised on the planning of a new cold store and the modernisation of the machinery. The counselling sessions were intensively prepared by the young counsellors in small groups during the seminar.

Farm visit

On each farm, a young advisor advised on one of the topics. The other young advisors, mentors and trainers acted as observers. The evaluation again took place in the seminar. Similar to many first counselling exercises in practice, turned out that the clarification of the assignment is a crucial point and that the structure of the discussion is important in addition to the technical knowledge. The participants praised the practical unit with systematic feedback as an important learning step. The actual implementation of what has been learned in theory is often more difficult than expected.

About the training programme

In the course of the ten-month project, each participant will now have the opportunity for a seminar day advisory session at their request. The group has developed an extraordinary sense of togetherness through the intensive and interactive seminar week, and there is great anticipation for the next face-to-face meeting in Ireland in May 2023.

The Erasmus+ project will be concluded at the IALB conference in Dresden in September 2023 with the awarding of the CECRA certificates.

 

Information on the Erasmus+ Programme for Young Advisors at www.eufras.eu;

Information on the CECRA Advisor Qualification at www.cecra.net

Young advisors   Welcome poster     Advisory process poster