Posted 21 August 2014
One young farmer had more reasons than most to celebrate his A-level results last week – after winning a full-fees university scholarship and a unique opportunity to kick-start his agri-business career.
Upon securing his place at Harper Adams University on Thursday, Will Taylor, 18, from Thirsk, North Yorkshire, was also confirmed as the winner of the Rabobank Agri-food Scholarship.
The award, sponsored by Rabobank, the leading global food and agricultural bank, is worth £9,000 in each of three academic years of Will’s degree programme, and also includes a one-year paid work placement with retail giant Marks & Spencer.
Andrew Franklin, Rabobank's Head of HR, Wholesale Europe, said: "Students like William will play an integral role in developing a lasting food and agribusiness industry in the years to come. Finding long-term solutions with sustainable practices in the food sector is a core value of Rabobank. We are thrilled that this is the third year that we have partnered with Harper Adams to offer a programme that gives the next generation of farmers the skills they will need build sustainable food futures."
In his application for the scholarship, Will wrote an essay discussing sustainability challenges faced by food retailers such as Marks and Spencer. He then joined fellow short-listed candidates at an interview day, during which he stood out to the judging panel, featuring representatives of the university, Rabobank and Marks & Spencer.
Will, who has plenty of agriculture experience from his family’s mixed farm, said: “I am thrilled to have been selected to receive this award, which I am sure will give me a massive head start in the agri-food industry.
“Being brought up on the farm showed me the importance of food - an aspect of life that is growing in demand. I chose to study at Harper Adams because it is renowned for its expertise and strong, extensive links within the agri-food industry. The degree course at Harper is ideal for me because it combines food with business – a subject I have a growing interest in.
“Marks & Spencer are a well-known and trusted UK business that is known for their outstanding quality of food and their efforts to sustain the environment and so I look forward to working with them on placement.”
This is the third Rabobank scholarship to have been awarded to a Harper Adams student – and the first backed by Marks & Spencer.
Sue Bell, Food Technical Executive at Marks & Spencer, said: "We look forward to welcoming Will onto the course and into the M&S business in two years’ time. A year with us with be challenging but also very rewarding and, hopefully, a great start to his career."