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The Shepherds School in Madrid launches a new training programme to promote extensive shepherding in the region

  • This year, the second edition of the School will introduce 55 young people to the shepherd profession and to other agricultural tasks such as cheese making and mountain ecology.
  • The program will run over the next four months, two of which will be devoted to work experience in the Sierra de Guadarrama and the Sierra Norte.

The non-profit organisation Inland (Campo Adentro) has launched the second edition of the Shepherds School of the Community of Madrid, with the support of the Red Eléctrica Group. This training programme has been launched today, and is likewise promoted by the Spanish Federation of Shepherds, schools from other regions and the Town Council of El Boalo. The Director General for Agriculture, Livestock and Food of the Community of Madrid, José Luis Sanz, took part in the presentation, which was held online. He stated that the Shepherds School "is an initiative contributing to support the rural world, a sector the importance of which for everyone has become even more evident in these complicated times". The meeting was also attended by the Mayor of El Boalo-Cerceda-Mataelpino, Javier de los Nietos.

The Manager of Sustainability Area of Red Eléctrica, Antonio Calvo, highlighted the company's support and participation in this project: "Red Eléctrica is a company that is present in the territory, and this is the reason why we are interested in the activities carried out in the area. The electricity lines coexist with livestock, which can even collaborate with maintenance while strengthening the ecosystems".

According to Fernando García-Dory, the School director, "with this programme, we aim at keeping the rural legacy alive, bringing the countryside closer to the city and keeping the traditional activity of extensive shepherding alive by reinventing it".

The Shepherds School of Madrid is committed to train new generations as a strategy to enable generational change and thus revalue the extensive shepherding activity in the region. With this objective, during the next four months, the School will introduce 55 young people to this profession hand in hand with highly experienced shepherds who will transmit their know-how of the activity and the environment. Half of the programme will be aimed at work experience in Sierra de Guadarrama and Sierra Norte.

In addition, the training offer includes learning other agricultural tasks such as mountain ecology, cheese making, shepherd dog training, clearing forest strips and also carrying out an agricultural exploitation project. As an innovation, this year the School has included in the curriculum a new theoretical and practical module aimed at instructing students about the relationship between the herds and the power lines. More specifically, the module, which will be taught by maintenance professionals from Red Eléctrica de España, will demonstrate how herd shepherding can contribute to controlling and managing the vegetation on the safety corridors for the electricity lines.

For Red Eléctrica, the fight against depopulation in the rural world is one of the priority objectives of the Commitment with Sustainability, and is being carried out through the development of social innovation projects. For this purpose, the company is supported by different local organisations implementing different initiatives to respond to the challenges of the empty Spain.

In this case, it is the first time that the Group has collaborated with the non-profit organisation INLAND and its initiative, the Shepherds School of the Community of Madrid. In this project, both entities work together to promote the shepherding activity as a source of employment and rural development in the region.