Posted 29 October 2015
We need a new generation of people in the company and this is the best place to come to find them."
Over the last week students at Harper Adams University have been introduced to a range of scholarship opportunities from companies spanning the agri-food sector.
Andrew Brodie, HR Director at Faccenda Foods, representing the various employers involved in the poultry scheme, said: “The UK poultry sector employs 80,000 people. We are one of the largest sectors in farming but also one of the largest sectors in manufacturing… Poultry is not just a growing sector. It’s an integrated sector, with jobs available at all points in the supply chain and many in single businesses. These scholarships presents a fantastic range of opportunities for you and your careers. You get an opportunity to have a good look at the industry and the company and they get a good look at you.”
Nine employers are offering scholarships under the poultry scheme. Each scholar will receive a payment of £4,500 in the current academic year, work for the company for their placement year and possibly receive further payments, subject to performance.
Pig Industry Scholarships follow the same structure, and can similarly open doors for the students involved.
Nick Major, Corporate Affairs Director at ForFarmers, speaking on behalf of the sector, said: “We are here to encourage you to open your mind to the pig industry… The reason we became involved with Harper Adams to set up the scholarships scheme is because of the typically ageing profile of managers within most of our sector.
“All parts of our supply chain need to attract good people. And I promise you there is absolutely no limit to your career in the pig sector. People are leading many of these business who were sitting where you are now, 20 or 30 years ago. Do not limit your career aspirations!”
Just one week later, companies exhibited at the annual Scholarships Fair, some as part of the sector schemes and some independently.
Nicolas Cousseau, Ceva Animal Health pig and poultry expert, explained that his company was looking for a student under the Pig Industry Scholarships scheme to support sales of a vaccine recently launched in the UK.
“The scholar will have an overview of working in animal health services not only in selling vaccines but in our other areas covering technical support, equipment, vet expertise and more. This is our first time offering a scholarship but we are already looking ahead to next year and to providing a poultry scholarship as well,” said Mr Cousseau.
Meanwhile Quality Equipment’s Michael Mattmuller, also seeking candidates under the Pig Industry scheme, said: “.We are looking for someone who is interested in technology, and in sales. We manufacture pig farming equipment - we make complete buildings from start to finish - and are ideally looking for a person who has an interest in that type of work. We need a new generation of people in the company and this is the best place to come to find them, we think.”
Agricultural management consultants Wilson Wraight were so impressed with their first Harper Adams placement student that they rushed to set up a scholarship.
Partner William Mitcham explained: “We took on our first placement student in summer 2014. It was the first time we had dipped our toe into the placement market and it’s fair to say that some partners did it with a degree of intrepidation. But it was a very successful placement, it worked perfectly. Our only challenge is that the bar might have been set too high!
“We were so thrilled with how well that went that we wanted to do more than just take on a new placement student. We wanted offer a scholarship and with assistance from the team at Harper Adams we have fast-tracked the process. We had anticipated it might have to start next year, but with the team’s help we are here today. Anybody who joins us will get a very broad range of experience of everything that we do.”
JSR Farms is also seeking a scholar for the first time. Company Chairman Tim Rymer said: “We are looking for student with the right attitude to come and have a placement year with us throughout the company. From arable to pig production, to genetics and probably on the beef side as well. We have got a lot of activities in the business and we are not really looking for people who just want to focus on one area. We particularly want people with the right attitude, who can say ‘I have no experience of pigs, I have no experience of arable, but I am really keen to learn’. We can have a look at them over a range of disciplines over the year and then see if we take it any further.
“This is our first scholarship. We have just had a placement student from Harper Adams and he made a really good impression. He, Will Jones, is one of the reasons why we are here.He did the whole range of work – harvest, the pig unit for a month to six week, then to the beef unit when they were calving in the spring, and some experience in the genetics.”
View the range of scholarships available here.