Blog: Plans afoot for stockperson training

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

As the 2022/23 training season closes across our three training centres, namely Thirsk, Swaffham and Lincoln, almost 200 stockpeople have completed the six Stockperson Development Scheme (SDS) training modules.

We moved one of our venues in the north of England to make it easier for producers in the region to attend the training at a venue closer to them; we also offered an online course to allow for more flexible learning, which has seen an increase in the number of people undertaking the training.

We have been looking at ways to improve the current training programmes and, based on feedback and discussion at our pork council meeting in February, we have committed to continue to coordinate stockperson training as well as focus on other areas of support.

We will increase accessibility, address gaps in the current offering and ensure the best of the best in terms of trainers and delivery. This means there will be some changes.

Stockperson Development Scheme

The Stockperson Development Scheme (SDS), which is aimed at industry newcomers, will continue but we will offer both online as well as physical in-person training events.

This should link in well with the latest online welfare training – part of Red Tractor standards – of which nearly 6,000 people have now completed.

We know from data gathered from previous years which sessions are the most popular and the ones that struggle to gain adequate numbers because of location and the travel required.

This is something we will continue to review so we can offer more options to meet demand and to help keep running costs down.

Stockperson Plus

The Stockperson Plus sessions that usually follow SDS have been on hold following feedback that the content of the sessions didn’t offer much progression from SDS. We plan to re-design this course to reflect this feedback, together with our knowledge of the changing responsibilities of stockpeople.

Topics that are being considered include water hygiene, management of the delivery systems, equipment maintenance, auditing processes and assurance scheme compliance.

After listening to feedback, it is clear there is also still demand for further support for those established team members who are leading departments and have responsibility for managing staff and analysing production reports and data.

We are therefore considering including the following within our training pathway:

  • The pig unit jigsaw, looking at how different production areas on a farm have an impact on each other, and how to identify problem areas and improve performance
  • Interpreting production reports to get the best out of on-farm data and setting and meeting targets
  • Basic coaching and mentoring of team members
  • An introduction to applying Lean management techniques to daily routines

New approach

The (slightly modified) training pathway is intended to reflect the changing responsibilities that today’s stockpeople are expected to carry out.

By following a hybrid approach in terms of delivery, we can be more flexible and more accessible, and training can be tailored to a particular role and its responsibilities.

We plan to launch the new training programmes in September but will be evaluating and sharing the new sessions and content with the industry over the summer for feedback and input.

If you would like to be involved, please get in touch with me.


M: 07976 443454

Image of staff member Andrew Palmer

Andrew Palmer

Knowledge Exchange Relationship Manager (East) - Pork

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