The Rural Further Education Institute
With 14,000 courses and more than 300,000 participants per year, the Rural Further Education Institute (Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut LFI) is the largest adult education institution in the rural Areas.
In the field of adult education, the LFI offers numerous courses that are used throughout Austria. Apart from professional qualification, also personality development is a very important topic. A particular focus, especially with regard to the funding period after 2013, is capacity building in the entrepreneurial sector, taking into account equality aspects.
The Rural Further Education Institute, LFI, is supported by the Chambers of Agriculture and other agricultural organisations. It has existed since 1972 in the form of a non-profit organisation aimed at the promotion of further education and training in rural areas.
The wide range of training courses offered by the LFI covers the whole spectrum of the specialist areas required to manage agricultural and forestry holdings. The most popular courses are those in animal and plant production, business management, health and nutrition as well as personality development.
Education and qualification are essential prerequisites for farmers to be able to respond optimally to present and future challenges and opportunities. The LFI, which is also quality-certified according to ISO 9001:2008, meets the demands of its customers for high-quality educational and training events through continuous further development. The trainers are mainly experts from the Chambers of Agriculture.
The objectives of the work of the LFI are summarised in the following mission statement, which applies throughout Austria:
- The LFI is the educational institution of the Chamber of Agriculture.
- The people in rural areas, in particular farmers, are the focus of our work.
- With our educational and advisory services, we strengthen personal and professional success.
- We take up professional and social developments and develop innovative and sustainable educational and advisory services.
- We gain the trust of our customers through customer proximity and practical competence.
- The professionalism and continuous further development of our employees and trainers is of particular importance to us.
- Our offers are characterised by high quality and an excellent price/performance ratio.
The LFI certificate courses play a special role in achieving these goals. These are modular courses with a minimum duration of 80 hours and a compulsory personality development module. At present, 40 courses are on offer, which serve to provide higher qualification in specific areas. Recent courses are designed to qualify as a stable expert (dairy farming or pig farming), soil practitioner (arable land or grassland), hoof trimmer and in the areas of sheep and goat farming.
A priority of the work of the LFI is the initiation and performance of innovative educational projects. There are about 20 interprovincial projects, with the current priorities being the specialist areas/disciplines of corporate competence, alpine pasturage, implementation and establishment of modern IT technologies (blended learning and social media in agricultural further training), future-oriented motivation in agricultural economics, agriculture and forestry and school, working parties as well as further training in the area of special crops.
Information about the training courses is mainly provided through the education programmes (edition of 280,000 pieces) and the course database as well as through event information in various agricultural media. The educational programmes published so far are available in written form, for download or as virtual catalogues. Moreover, also the educational guidance by the advisors in the Chambers of Agriculture is of great importance.