Heather finds work at dairy farm through skills matching service

“The Skills Matching Service gave me the exact person I was looking for, which has been a huge help in these difficult times.”

Rural Matters chatted with dairy farmer David Murdoch of Laigh Smithstone Farm, Kilwinning, and Heather McNeil from Kilmarnock about how the Lantra Skills Matching Service (SMS) has benefited them during the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, David was left short-staffed because of childcare and other reasons. David saw the SMS advertised on social media, and submitted an application seeking help.

“Registering my business for the SMS took minimal effort. The application took me a couple of minutes and gave me the exact person I was looking for, which has been huge for myself in these difficult times.

“I was in a really difficult position with staff not being able to work. Registering for the SMS was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done and would recommend all other businesses to register who are looking for help”.

Lantra has been in regular contact with David and Heather to make sure they are both happy and to ensure the SMS was what they expected.

Heather, a veterinary student-to-be, registered with the SMS to offer her expertise in animal care, and has now been working on David’s farm for four weeks.

“It’s been really nice to work on David’s farm, it’s been four weeks now and it’s a bit of normality amongst this chaos”.

Heather will be entering her first year of university later this year, and was looking to get experience of working on a farm.

“I will be working with animals the rest of my life and I don’t have a farming background so it is a great opportunity for me to gain experience. I’m learning something new every day and even when you think you know something I learn something new!”

Heather was impressed by how quickly she got a reply after filling out the online form.

“When I signed up I didn’t expect to hear back, but they contacted me within a day! I would encourage anyone to register for the SMS.”

You can register your farm or yourself here.