THE deadline is looming for young hill farmers in Cumbria and the Dales to apply for a new scheme aimed at helping them develop their skills.

The Skills Development Programme, which is available to young hill farmers aged 16 to 25, is being developed by the Farmer Network with the help of a grant from the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

It will enable young hill farmers to gain work experience on two other hill farms to broaden their skills both improving their ability to run their own farms and giving them the opportunity to offer their skills to other farmers on a self employed basis.

As well as arranging work experience, the scheme will include a training bursary worth £1,250 to help the young farmers afford training for both statutory certificates such as ATV and tractor driving and also courses designed to help them improve their hill farming skills such as walling and sheep dog handling.

The scheme will start this summer and aims to help 12 young hill farmers in Cumbria and the Dales. The deadline for applications is May 30. Contact the Farmer Network office on 01768-868615 or email: