College options for a keen lad.

melted welly

Member
Location
DD9.
Aye up,

My lad is in his first year of a Level 3 Extended Diploma. He’s doing ok, really well in fact, good grades and we thought he was enjoying it.

I know it’s been a difficult year for many kids, but he’s been lucky, really busy working on a local farm. He absolutely loves it and is there every minute he can be.

In the last few weeks his head has gone down a bit when it comes to college. If we let him, he would not bother going again. We want him to last the course and get the qualification. He doesn’t want to do a degree, which is frustrating because we’re sure he could, but we don’t rule with a rod here, they’ve got to make their own way.

The fact he’s not doing a degree makes him
think the diploma is pointless, but we’re trying to get him to see further.

What options could he have to do something different next year?

We’re adamant he should do something with a qualification at the end. The trouble is he loves “the work”. It’s all he wants to do. He doesn’t want to tell people how to do the work, he just loves doing it himself. And when older he’s adamant he’s going to have his own business (or mine!!!) so won’t need to impress anybody with a piece of paper. All good stuff but we don’t want him to regret it later.

He could do with something to really grab him next year, give him a really interesting challenge.

Any ideas?

Cheers, Pete.

I don’t think doing a degree did me much good to be honest, beyond having a piece of paper that shows me attaining some level of intelligence at some point in my life (maybe that’s a good thing come t think of it 🤭). I’d struggle to remember much if any of what was taught, made good friends though, but there was too much fannying about.

Learnt far more in 4 months at Moreton Morrell with Tym Morgan (and that has stuck with me for coming on 20yrs now) than I did during 3yrs at Ag college.

It’s all down to the individual, I don’t cope well with theory, I understand far more by doing than talking, I can learn by writing loads of notes which is how I got through college, but don’t enjoy it, perhaps your lad feels similar about college, especially in its current form of screen time and minimal contact with others.

There’s a however a balance to strike between what he “wants” to do and what he “needs” to do to be able to achieve the “wants”. For example if he wants to take over the business from yourself, then he not only needs to grasp the practicalities, but also the unseen and oft overlooked parts - the boring office stuff that is the glue that holds it all together. That side of the job is harder to come to terms with if all you’ve known is tearing about being busy. If the college is going to give a grounding to that side of the job then I think your right to encourage him to stick in. Can make or lose more in the office than out on a machine.

There’s always the chance to come back to further education, it doesn’t all have to be done at once, and the door isn’t locked behind you when you leave. Maybe now isn’t the time for him, maybe nows the time to sign up for a seasons work in NZ or Oz, but a few years down the line when he’s a clear vision for the future could be a time to pursue a (part time) qualification. I left college with a Btech degree and 12 years later started a distance learning msc, which I really enjoyed as I was more focussed on what I wanted.

Also, if you know of anyone with a functioning time machine, I wouldn’t mind a shot to pop back to 97 and give myself my own fecking advice 🤔
 

Getnthair

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
SW Scotland
There will come a time when a qualification will be needed to show that you are "educated" enough to farm.

I was destined to come home. Reluctantly I was talked into looking at a Diploma course with "O" levels. Persuaded to take Highers and then the College admission officer talked me into doing a degree. I was a very green student coming from the sticks into a big city. Loved it and come out as top student - including all the "growing-up" that went on too........ Still at home but - probably? - a better farmer for it.

Getting away from home was the hardest bit - so I know where your son is coming from and I understand your concerns. It is easy to be the "wise head on old shoulders" but it isn't easy to accept that advice when younger.

What fascinated me at university - and still does - was learning the theory behind the practical knowledge I had.
Learning Animal Physiology and I understood how to manage the cows better.
Crop Biology and I knew how to work with soils and chemicals, etc.
Farm Management helped see how to make it all add up to make a pound.
Meeting other students from different farming backgrounds was stimulating - as was meeting other students, full stop.

I always remember a professor saying - "You are not here to learn how to farm tomorrow, we will teach you how to farm in 15-20 years time." In other words how to think ahead - well ahead.
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
I always remember a professor saying - "You are not here to learn how to farm tomorrow, we will teach you how to farm in 15-20 years time." In other words how to think ahead - well ahead.
That's the one thing I did learn in uni and it stuck was 'how to learn'. How to find the right info you need from a library full of info. Took me 3 years to learn that though, just wish I'd learnt it in year one🤣.
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
Always said I'd go to NZ shearing after leaving school but I did A levels. Said I'd go after but went to uni. Said I'd go after uni but got a job. Worked in an office for 2 years, started a masters degree and I still hadn't been to NZ only now I was 24 and I thought when am I going to go? so jacked the job in and brought a plane ticket. I was led down the education route as was expected in the blair years, get qualifications, get a better job. Did I need any of that for the job I'm doing now. No not really but still have the student loan.

Honestly, and this is my honest opinion, if I was doing it again I'd be better leaving school at 16 doing a year or two at ag college, because A levels are a waste of time unless you go to uni. There is a lot about farming you don't learn from dad like modules in pigs or sucklers if you don't have them at home for first hand experience, but the one thing I think I missed from local ag college was meeting other local farming lads that you'll get as contacts for the rest of your working career. Other than that an apprenticeship would be my preferred training option. Learn and earn for three years rather than come out of college with a debt.

It depends where his heart is. Would he be better swapping to a mechanical/engineering course if he plans to play with lime spreaders for the next few decades or otherwise I'd try get him to stick with ag as an all rounded course. Youngsters need training in business and management which seems boring/difficult at the time but worth every second of it throughout your working career.
 
Last edited:

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
Is he interested in stock. If so get him to learn to shear. Best thing I ever did was shear, he can see the world, have fun, learn what real hard work is and earn a packet. Shearing definitely made a man out of me!
No definitely no. I agree with the hard work ethic, see the world and earn bloody good money but after shearing for 20+years my body is starting to show the cracks and I'm not sure all the hard work was worth it. I'd have to think long and hard about it if I was to do it all again and I think the answer would be NO. Even if I do still love it and can't face retirement for another season 😬
 

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
That's the one thing I did learn in uni and it stuck was 'how to learn'. How to find the right info you need from a library full of info. Took me 3 years to learn that though, just wish I'd learnt it in year one🤣.
College or Uni teaches you (or should) to think for yourself/ think critically. If you crack that everything else should follow.
 
I think I learned more practical things from my F.in.L in the short time I knew him than I ever did in college .
There was also a VERY practical advisor with the old ADAS , Henry Sturrock , . I think he only had a cert agri .and so consequently he was as far up the promotion ladder as he was ever going to be , being passed by lads with more impressive paper skills than he had . He used to always manage to land up at lunch time , knowing he would be invited to partake . It was always a most welcome , entertaining , and educational experience . Tales of a "farm school" (Garstang Area ?) with other orphans , were most interesting , how to make a hay net from used baler twine was one I've never forgotten - even though I haven't made one for years .!
 

Cowcorn

Member
Mixed Farmer
Aye up,

My lad is in his first year of a Level 3 Extended Diploma. He’s doing ok, really well in fact, good grades and we thought he was enjoying it.

I know it’s been a difficult year for many kids, but he’s been lucky, really busy working on a local farm. He absolutely loves it and is there every minute he can be.

In the last few weeks his head has gone down a bit when it comes to college. If we let him, he would not bother going again. We want him to last the course and get the qualification. He doesn’t want to do a degree, which is frustrating because we’re sure he could, but we don’t rule with a rod here, they’ve got to make their own way.

The fact he’s not doing a degree makes him
think the diploma is pointless, but we’re trying to get him to see further.

What options could he have to do something different next year?

We’re adamant he should do something with a qualification at the end. The trouble is he loves “the work”. It’s all he wants to do. He doesn’t want to tell people how to do the work, he just loves doing it himself. And when older he’s adamant he’s going to have his own business (or mine!!!) so won’t need to impress anybody with a piece of paper. All good stuff but we don’t want him to regret it later.

He could do with something to really grab him next year, give him a really interesting challenge.

Any ideas?

Cheers, Pete.
You did well to get him as far as college and tell him that its always a good idea to finish once started . Looks like hes a chip of the old block so he will be alright ;):).
You didnt do to badly !!
My lad is still at school and even though he is getting good grades he is adamant that he is done with study and refuses to even consider college .
His mothers dreams of a graduate proffesion for him are shattered .
Me ?? I just see a lot of myself and worse his grandfather in him and know that forcing him down a road he doesent want to go will only fail .
You can only do so much at the end of the day kids become adults through trial and error and we can only hope for the best and try and nudge them away from the worst .
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
Aye up,

My lad is in his first year of a Level 3 Extended Diploma. He’s doing ok, really well in fact, good grades and we thought he was enjoying it.

I know it’s been a difficult year for many kids, but he’s been lucky, really busy working on a local farm. He absolutely loves it and is there every minute he can be.

In the last few weeks his head has gone down a bit when it comes to college. If we let him, he would not bother going again. We want him to last the course and get the qualification. He doesn’t want to do a degree, which is frustrating because we’re sure he could, but we don’t rule with a rod here, they’ve got to make their own way.

The fact he’s not doing a degree makes him
think the diploma is pointless, but we’re trying to get him to see further.

What options could he have to do something different next year?

We’re adamant he should do something with a qualification at the end. The trouble is he loves “the work”. It’s all he wants to do. He doesn’t want to tell people how to do the work, he just loves doing it himself. And when older he’s adamant he’s going to have his own business (or mine!!!) so won’t need to impress anybody with a piece of paper. All good stuff but we don’t want him to regret it later.

He could do with something to really grab him next year, give him a really interesting challenge.

Any ideas?

Cheers, Pete.

i actually think he’s right !

bits of paper have had little relevance for me

if he ever does need the bits of paper he can do that later
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
I’m having a shed built at the moment. The boss of the firm building it left school at 16 having grown up around farms. He started to work for one or two shed builders before starting out on his own. He now employs 4 full timers, owns his own kit, is married with 2 children, owns his own house and has a second which he lets as a holiday home. Business turnover is in excess of £1,000,000.
He’ll be 25 in July.
He’s exceptional, but it can be done.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
You did well to get him as far as college and tell him that its always a good idea to finish once started . Looks like hes a chip of the old block so he will be alright ;):).
You didnt do to badly !!
My lad is still at school and even though he is getting good grades he is adamant that he is done with study and refuses to even consider college .
His mothers dreams of a graduate proffesion for him are shattered .
Me ?? I just see a lot of myself and worse his grandfather in him and know that forcing him down a road he doesent want to go will only fail .
You can only do so much at the end of the day kids become adults through trial and error and we can only hope for the best and try and nudge them away from the worst .

Yep some people just aren't suited to school and college.
Just my opinion but I think the best thing you could say to him is, that's fine but you're on your own, you have to go out and make a living. Stay living here if you want but you'll pay board.
If you're keen on the farm, show me you can look after yourself and come back when you're 30 ish.
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

  • 17,705
  • 128
Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.



We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.



You can read more about our Future Farming policy on our blog.



I’ve answered some of your questions previously: you can watch the videos on...
Top