In 2017, NFYFC Chair of Council, Ed Ford approached us as he wanted to offer YFC members who were too young to study agriculture at college or not interested in furthering their studies, an opportunity to learn about farm safety, helping us in our aim to improve the attitudes and behaviours to risk-taking in the next generation of farmers…
Over the following year, we worked with Ed and the team to develop an innovative and interactive club night which was rolled out to the NFYFC network during their annual National Young Farmers Week 2017.
Since then, we have been continually improving and expanding the 90-minute session which is delivered through the NFYFCs Curve Module programme. Our ‘Farm Safe!’ and new ‘Minding Your Head’ modules, provide tools to actively improve attitudes and understanding around these key topics and have been delivered to over 3,000 members of NFYFC across England and Wales.
The curve modules are unique in that they are delivered peer-to-peer which means that the trainers are actually members of YFC clubs themselves. This is a powerful way to deliver important messages by people who know the audience, appreciate the concerns and live the life themselves. One of those is the Farm Safety Foundation’s very own Megan Bailey who, earlier this year, was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Top Trainer of the Year’ at NFYFCs AGM.
“I’ve been part of my local club, Long Itchington, since I was 15,” says Megan. “My parents always talked about the fantastic memories that they had as part of Warwick and Leamington Young Farmers and, growing up in a rural area, I thought joining would be a great opportunity to build up local connections.”
Megan, who organises and supports the delivery of our own award-winning education programme, credits the Young Farmers’ Club network with helping her build her confidence. She is now involved with NFYFC at both a local and national level, is Vice-Chair of the Personal Development Steering Group, and is trained to deliver all Curve modules.
“I wanted to get involved with the training programme after qualifying as a primary school teacher and realising that there were a lot of transferable skills,” says Megan. “I’d taken part in some modules myself and saw how beneficial it was. The NFYFC runs a Train the Trainer course, so I did that, and loved it.
Passionate about promoting farm safety and a better understanding of mental health at work or at play, Megan understands the need to get in front of the farmers of the future so they can be instrumental in turning our poor safety record around.
“The ‘Farm Safe!’ Curve module ensures members are aware that farm safety is relevant to all of them and covers a range of different activities in hazard and risk spotting and knowing what to do to make that situation safer.” explains Megan. “The new ‘Minding Your Head’ module covers mental health issue within the industry and helps members to better understand what mental health looks and sounds like, what to look out for in each other, and how to find support for themselves and others.”
But why farm safety and mental health?
“It’s important to know the hazards within the industry and how to keep not only yourself, but your friends and family safe on farm. According to the HSE, you have a 1 in 10 chance over just five years of suffering long term ill-health, having a serious incident, or death if you work in farming. My advice to anyone who thinks farm safety isn’t relevant to them is to think again – farm safety is for everyone.
“We also know from the Farm Safety Foundation’s own research that 95% of young farmers strongly agree that mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing our industry. So learning about the signs and symptoms of someone struggling with poor mental health can help you help them.
“I enjoy delivering both modules and would strongly recommend all clubs to get involved in the training opportunities available, whether that’s by becoming a trainer themselves or by signing up to have a training module delivered as part of their club night.”
Find out more about the NFYFC Curve Modules by emailing Natasha Dennis Learning & Development Manager Natasha.Dennis@nfyfc.org.uk