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Why Powys sheep farmer is ‘hooked’ on e-learning

THIRD generation sheep farmer Wyn Williams from Llanfair Caereinion knows a lot about sheep farming. Now, thanks to Farming Connect’s fully funded online e-learning training modules, he knows considerably more! Wyn was brought up on the family farm just a few miles from where he lives. Today, at his hill farm, which ranges from 1,100 to 1,300 ft high, he runs 500 predominantly hardy cross-bred speckled breeding ewes and 200 dry ewe lambs.

Wyn has been using any spare time to acquire new knowledge through Farming Connect. He has undertaken e-learning modules on topics ranging from identifying and treating diseases in sheep to managing fluke, lameness, antimicrobial resistance and biosecurity.

Wyn believed he didn’t have time to get involved in studying since he already combines a rewarding full-time job with farming. But having missed out on the academic side of agriculture in his younger days, he had concerns that he may not be up to speed with current guidance and best practice.

Persuaded by his local development officer Owain Pugh, Wyn finally registered for BOSS, the Welsh Government’s Business Online Support Service via Sign-On Cymru, which is the route to selecting and accessing Farming Connect range of more than 80 e-learning courses.

“After completing my first e-learning course on seasonal reproduction in ewes in well under an hour, which included a short quiz to assess what I’d learned, I was hooked.”

Wyn is now steadily working his way through every sheep-related module available through Farming Connect. Once he’s completed them all, he plans to move on to online courses on grassland and business management.

Wyn says that every module contained very practical advice which he was always able to relate to issues he deals with on the farm on a day to day basis, helping him make better informed choices and decisions.

“I found it such an easy way to acquire more knowledge, always pitched at just the right level and letting me learn at my own pace.”

“I’ve already saved a lot of time and money by considering the options for various withdrawal periods of drench and with the relevant information easily accessible, I am able to move stock on as soon as they are ready.”

Described as ‘bite-sized’, each interactive e-learning module – most take around 20-30 minutes – can be repeated until you are confident you have all the facts you need at your fingertips. A short quiz at the end of each will identify any areas you may want to revisit. For a brief overview of more than 80 available topics and what is covered within each, visit gov.wales/farmingconnectskillsandtraining.

To access e-learning courses you will need to have registered your individual email address with Farming Connect and logged into BOSS (the Business Online Support Service) via Sign On Cymru. You are then ready to select the e-learning module(s) you require. If you need help with any part of this process, you can contact your local development officer or the Farming Connect Service Centre.

At the end of every completed e-learning course, a ‘Certificate of completion’ will be uploaded to your personal online Storfa Sgiliau continuous professional development record on your behalf.

For further information on Farming Connect skills and training, visit gov.wales/farmingconnectskillsandtraining.

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