http://www.soilassociation.org/futuregrowers/schemestructure
Soil Association : Future growers : Scheme structure

How the scheme works

The Soil Association’s Future Growers scheme offers work-based learning in organic fruit and vegetable production, delivered on organic farms with mentoring and support from expert organic growers, backed up by in-depth seminars at farms across the UK.

We offer:

  • a six month minimum traineeship
  • a two year apprenticeship

Both the traineeship and the apprenticeship involve:

  • participants being employed as organic growers paid according to AWO Workers Grade 1-6 rates. Please note that the rates listed for trainees and apprentices do not apply to this scheme.
  • regular mentoring
  • a programme of farm-based seminars run by organic experts
  • farm walks and visits to learn from a variety of approaches and techniques
  • Soil Association producer membership

This table outlines the difference between the two schemes:

  Traineeship Apprenticeship
Length of placement 6 months minimum 2 years
Mentoring 2 hours a month 4 hours a month
Seminars Spring block (4 days)
Summer weekend (2 days)
Year 1
Spring block (4 days)
Summer weekend (2 days)
Autumn block (4 days)
Year 2
Winter weekend (2 days)
Summer weekend (2 days)
Autumn block (4 days)
Learning outcomes Core skills in organic growing Core skills in organic growing Specialisms (eg soft and top fruit, business management, machinery etc)
Evaluation On-farm mentoring On-farm mentoring
Project
Log book plus viva/interview with Soil Association
Fees paid by trainee/apprentices £950 £3,200
(£1,600 per year)

Read the Future Growers Handbook which outlines in detail how the scheme works.

Other benefits and resources

  • Subscription to Living Earth and Organic Farming magazines
  • Access to a range of technical support, resources and events
  • Building lasting relationships with experts in the organic farming and growing community
  • On-going support to help find work or set up your own business through contacts with the Soil Association and the Organic Growers Alliance 

Progression from traineeship to apprenticeship

It is possible to start on a traineeship placement and progress to an apprenticeship. There are two routes for progression:

  • At the end of your traineeship your host farm decides to offer you an apprenticeship
  • You complete your traineeship and later secure a longer term placement with another approved host

In both cases you need to top up your fees in order to continue as an apprentice.