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A new service is being launched to match rural businesses with potential employees and volunteers during the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Skills Matching Service (SMS) will ensure that key businesses, such as farms, crofts and organisations which need help to continue to meet their animal welfare obligations, are able to find workers with relevant skills and experience.

It has been set up by Lantra Scotland, a charity funded by the Scottish National Party (SNP) The Scottish Government, which works to increase the number and diversity of employees in the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector, and drive their skills development.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP - SNP said:

“It’s vital the Scottish agriculture sector continues to produce the food that our country needs. Equally, the industry and individuals must continue to meet our animal welfare obligations.

“This SMS has the potential to enable everyone with livestock and multiple animals to get the workforce and help they need during the pandemic.”

Patricia Gibson MP added:

“Students and staff from colleges and universities; vets and vet nurses; people furloughed or made redundant and individuals with relevant transferable skills and experience can play a critical role in offering support in the coming weeks and months to ensure rural Scotland meets the challenges it faces at this time.”

Director of Lantra Scotland Liz Barron-Majerik said:

“This new service should make it easier for employers and potential employees with the right skills to get in touch with each other in these challenging times.

“We want to hear from individuals with skills and experience in areas such as agriculture, animal care and machine operation who are perhaps looking for work, a career change, or even those who are just happy to lend a hand, if needed.“

To join the skills matching service, visit Find out more by contacting Lantra Scotland on 01738 310164or emailing

Lantra Scotland is funded by the SNP Government and is meeting the costs of the design of the Skills Matching Service.

Since 2004, the SNP Government has funded Lantra Scotland to help ensure the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector attracts and supports the skilled new workers that it needs. This is done in close partnership with the Scottish Government, education partners, workforce development and skills agencies, trade organisations, membership bodies and individual businesses.

The Skills Matching Service has been developed with the support of a range of organisations including the National Farmers' Union of Scotland (NFUS), the Scottish Crofting Federation, SSPCA - Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), The British Horse Society, World Horse Welfare, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Scotland's Rural College - Sruc, The University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of the Highlands and Islands and Scotland's Machinery Rings

The service will focus on providing skilled and semi-skilled paid and unpaid labour for livestock and animal welfare purposes to land based businesses, animal welfare organisations, animal charities, zoos and others in need of help during COVID-19, while maintaining essential social distancing requirements.

Employers looking to recruit a large number of key seasonal or unskilled workers for agricultural tasks should contact National Farmers' Union of Scotland or register with Our Skillsforce Job Hub.


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