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Advanced Training Partnerships (ATP)

Advanced Training Partnerships (ATP) offer postgraduate level training to employees working in UK agri-food industries.

ATPs were developed in response to domestic and global pressures on food production systems, recognising that investment in high-level skills training will support the UK agri-food sector to respond resiliently to food security challenges.


In 2010, a cross-departmental government report from the Food Research Partnership Skills Sub-Group, assessed the current status of high-level skills in the UK agri-food sector (see downloads), some key findings of which were:

  • the immediate and urgent need in agriculture and food sectors is to increase the skills levels of current owners, managers and workers
  • a concerted effort to increase the professionalisation of the sectors is necessary to enable them to respond to the increasingly complex world in which food is produced and consumed.
Improving forage crops such as clover, grass, oats and barley. Copyright: Sustainable & Efficient Food Production ATP

Although high-level skills are reported to be endangered, the UK is in a good position to capitalise on the expertise of the research base, and so recommendations for us to initiate ATPs led to a funding call for training partnerships that would work with industry to deliver training in the agri-food sector.

ATPs will provide postgraduate level professional development in agri-food for a large number of industry specialists across the UK. Employees in the sector will be supported to develop the skills necessary to ensure the UK continues to make significant contributions towards national and global food security.


Providing training for highly skilled managers and technical specialists. Copyright: AgriFood ATP

There are three partnerships worth approximately £13 million within the ATP initiative. Bringing together companies with research and training organisations, each are formal, sustainable collaborations between end users and providers of high-level skills in the agri-food sector.

Funded from 2011-2016, each partnership operates under the leadership of an academic institution and focuses on a particular research area, covering the full range of food production from farm to fork.

Training modules

Training modules can:

  • fit around existing work commitments
  • form part of accredited CPD, Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma
  • be built into full Masters and Professional Doctorates degrees in agricultural, food and veterinary sciences.

All ATPs have developed courses, and from 2012 are beginning to deliver them to specialist staff from a wide range of companies. The training will be delivered flexibly to ensure that it meets the need of the end user, and includes distance learning, short-courses, work-based training, research placements and secondments.


Visit the Sustainable and Efficient Food Production ATP website

Sustainable and efficient food production

Led by IBERS, Aberystwyth University

This programme addresses high-level skills needs of pasture based agriculture in the UK, focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact of extensive beef, sheep and dairy farming.

Visit the Agri Food ATP website

AgriFood ATP: A strategic training hub for the UK agri-food industry

Led by The University of Nottingham

This programme spans the entire agri-food chain, including soils, water, crops, animals, post-harvest, food and nutrition. The hub will facilitate a vibrant community of industrialists and academics, advancing a range of technical and contextual skills that can be deployed for maximum impact across the chain.

Visit the Food ATP website

Food ATP: Food quality and health

Led by University of Reading

This partnership brings together industrialists and academics focused on delivering high quality and real-world relevant training for the food and production industries.

Case study

Professor Jamie Newbold from the Pasture-based ATP, Aberystwyth University

The Pasture-based ATP has been working with companies to develop courses for supply chain and workforce training.

In one of their key areas of expertise, ruminant gut microbiology, they are working with one of the large probiotic companies working in the UK to run a module for both their own sales force and for their customers in the feed compounding industry.

Professor Jamie Newbold inspecting the health of the herd in 2012.
Copyright: Sustainable & Efficient Food Production ATP

Based on on-going research at Aberystwyth, the module will explore the anatomy and environmental conditions of the rumen that influence rumen digestion and productivity, explore the function of the gut microbiome, and review ways of manipulating rumen fermentation to improve productivity whilst decreasing the environmental footprint of ruminant agriculture.

Through development of this module, the ATP will provide specialist post-graduate level training for companies in the feed compounding industry, giving them a leading edge.


Nikki Cholod - Advanced Training Partnerships

01793 413239