What’s happening at Plumpton College?
Plumpton is investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment on its campus to give students access to the latest technological and best practice developments in the land and environment industries. It is the largest investment in campus-wide development works since 2012.
The agri-food hub 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 will provide the Agriculture, Food and wider land management industries with up-to-date skills training and support for rural businesses post-Brexit. It will be opening Winter 2022.
The two-storey building will create a network hub for rural businesses for knowledge transfer, training and business improvement. It will include:
Improved facilities for businesses and adult students to meet informally and conduct meetings
A café featuring produce from the Plumpton Estate
Flexible and inspiring lecture theatres 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
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
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.