Drover training scheme further enhances people skills at auction markets

13th September 2018

A new Drover Training Scheme has been developed by independent training professionals Animal-I, by request of the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA), and in co-operation with AHDB. The ‘Safe Hands’ Master Drovers Programme has been developed to address the increasing requirements for health and safety, animal welfare and traceability through the live auction mart system.

“Drovers are an essential part of the smooth operation of the livestock market, they have a key role in ensuring that the highest standards of animal health and welfare are met at all times. Equally, the health and safety of staff and people iscrucial, and this independent training module addresses the key requirements and responsibilities,” says LAA executive secretary, Chris Dodds.

“As an industry, we have a responsibility to ensure drovers have the competency and the skills to handle animals appropriately and safely in a challenging environment.”

AHDB Beef & Lamb knowledge exchange manager, Liz Ford adds, “The livestock auction mart system is an integral part of the beef and lamb supply chain. The role of the market is very diverse, and the welfare standards for animals, and safety of people, is crucial to its success.”

Enhancing existing training practices, the ‘Safe Hands’ package provides a series of units covering handling, animal welfare, health and safety and market requirements. Each unit has relevant video and interactive exercises and activities. Already, around 85 senior market staff have attended ‘train the trainer’ events throughout the country, with more training days already arranged.

“This cascade approach means that each business can use the package in a way that works for them,” explains Miriam Parker of Animal-I, who developed the programme for LAA. “Today’s drovers come from a wide range of backgrounds and one size does not fit all, so the brief was to come up with a ‘toolbox’ that could be adapted according to need.”

Alastair Sneddon, senior partner at Bagshaws, and responsible for livestock sales at the Agricultural Business Centre Bakewell, welcomes the programme, “It has been assembled by a team who know and understand the behaviour of livestock and people in a market situation, and gives a scientific insight into the best methods of handling animals.

“The intended audience is auctioneers and their staff, who are in most cases, already experts in what they do. What the presentation does, is to make people think about what they are doing and why, and as a consequence, do it better.

“The video footage has been taken in everyday market situations that staff can identify with and learn from. I believe that the package will make a useful contribution to improving safety and welfare in markets.”

Crucially, the training has been developed to look at the wider role of the livestock market. “The LAA has worked with its members to enhance the training already in place,” continues Mr Dodds, “but this new training scheme also introduces specialist advice and information on best practice around aspects including presentation, health and handling.”

Liz Ford concludes, “Alongside the safety aspects and meeting best practice, the access to market advice and other guidance all goes to help the industry deliver a safer, more efficient sales environment.”

For details on access to the Drover Training Scheme contact the LAA at www.laa.co.uk