Campus Development

What’s happening at Plumpton College? 

Agri-Food Hub

The AgriFood Centre is a regional centre of excellence for training, education and skills development for the land and environment sector. Built in the heart of the 2500-acre campus near Lewes, it provides the Agriculture, Food and wider land management industries with up-to-date skills training and support for rural businesses post-Brexit. It opened in February 2023. 

The two-storey building creates a network hub for rural businesses for knowledge transfer, training and business improvement. It includes: 

  • Improved facilities for businesses and adult students to meet informally and conduct meetings 

  • The Graze café featuring produce from the Plumpton Estate 

  • Flexible and inspiring teaching spaces and conferencing facilities to accommodate 300 people 

  • Commercial training kitchens for food skills training, including use by schools and the wider community and charities to provide outreach education. 

Plumpton College has been awarded funding from partners: 

  • East Sussex County Council 

  • Virgin Money 

  • HM Government 

  • South East Local Enterprise Partnership 

  • The Wolfson Foundation 

  • Table Talk Foundation 

Leading the way to Carbon Zero 

The college is undertaking campus-wide developments to improve staff and student safety, improve the study experience for students. Whilst undertaking construction work is important, the college is also ensuring it upholds its environment strategy and maintains its environment as a custodian of the South Downs National Park. This includes: 

An ecological strategy for the Estate 

  • Habitat and Biodiversity improvements including enhanced planting, hedgerow planting schemes in partnership with Sussex Wildlife Trust and creation of new habitats across the campus 

  • Commitment to the FE Carbon Literacy Roadmap 

Built Environment and Estate 

  • A new, state of the art building with a BREAM rating of excellent for sustainability credentials. The centre for Sustainable Land Management will have a sedum roof, a smart building management system and draw heat for a biomass plant. 
  • Improved, safer access for students and visitors: 50% more car parking spaces and low-impact lighting (dark skies lighting) 

  • Improved tractor training areas 

  • Widening college access roads with pedestrian routes 

  • Paddocks relocated and enhanced adjacent to Animal Management Unit for donkeys, alpacas, goats and investment in exotic animal collection in 2022. 

Education for students 

  • Carbon Literacy Pilot and Project embedded into courses 

  • New Higher Education qualifications in Environment, Land & Agriculture launching 2023 

More about sustainability at the college.

Improvements to Lambert Farm 

Plumpton College which already boasts one of the largest college farms in the UK, will also invest in improvements to its farm enterprise, including farm animal production technologies for its sheep and beef facilities and a new pig unit. The existing dairy unit includes new automated Lely A5 astronaut milking stations and improvements to cow welfare. 

New Biosecurity Centre 

Access to the farm for all visitors and staff will now be through a new Biosecurity centre, designed to meet industry standards in the management of animal health and welfare. It will ensure all visitors have the correct PPE and briefing before entering Lambert Farm to keep all staff, students and animals safe. The farm can now also be accessed via a new visitor walkway over the farm into the dairy viewing platform and teaching facilities without the need to go through the security centre. 

Investments in Agri-Tech 

Lambert Farm has also secured sponsorship from Lely Atlantic for the latest Agri-Tech developments for the dairy industry. Earlier this year a Juno automatic feed pusher and Discovery automatic barn cleaner were both installed. The dairy herd will be split to showcase two different milking systems. A lower output mixed herd that are turned out to grass and milked in the traditional parlour twice a day, and the existing high-yield pedigree Holstein herd will be taught how to milk themselves using the latest Lely Astronaut A5 automatic milking robots installed in the unit. This ensures the future farming generation is industry leading upon graduation, capable of utilising different systems in the workplace. 

Development of Meat Processing Centre 

Plumpton College is responding to national food skills shortages by opening a brand-new specialist meat processing education and training facility at its college farm. 

The college is one of the only providers in the South East where students can train as an apprentice butcher. The new meat processing centre at Lambert Farm has been funded by the Rural Payments Agency and the South East Enterprise Partnership to help farms diversify and become more resilient. 

The centre, which can accommodate up to 12 students each at their own butcher block, includes facilities to showcase every aspect of butchery to the students that they may utilise within the workplace. 

The facility is unique in that it is at the heart of the college commercial farm which includes beef, sheep and pig enterprises. This offers students an enriching experience not on offer anywhere else, from farm to fork, spending time gaining insights from our farm and agriculture team with the animals, through to processing skills and then finally the supply route to market through our retail space and butchery counter at One Garden Brighton. 

Farrow to finish pig unit 

Lambert farm has also upgraded its piggery facilities, moving to a new £1.2m modern housing facility utilising the latest automatic Agri-Tech from NEDAP for feeding and bedding, to improve welfare and showcase industry developments to students. The high welfare unit produces farm-assured Red Tractor Pork. The pigs will have improved space, bedding and ventilation, including improved welfare for farrowing sows. 

The Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazer

We are a part of the Local Skills Improvement Plan, led by Sussex Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex & West Sussex, one of only eight trailblazer areas across the country. As part of this we are working to identify local needs, and solutions to skills for a productive local economy in key sectors including the land based sector, specifically in agriculture and viticulture. You can read more here.

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