PD Hook is offering agriculture students a £3500 scholarship to encourage them into the poultry industry.

The scheme, now in its second year, offers students a year of paid experience in all areas of the poultry business, from rearing and breeding to hatching and broiler operations, and pays for their final year at college or university. They are then invited back to work for at least 12 months in their chosen area of the business.

“The board decided that we needed to get some young people into the business,” said human resources manager Jackie Newman (pictured). “The only criterion is that they have to have an interest in chicken.”

The first two scholars start their placements in September, and PD Hook hopes to attract further applicants through agriculture colleges, including Harper Adams,Duchy College and Easton College.

Tom Woolman is one of the students starting his placement this year and, despite a background in dairy farming, is looking forward to a career in the poultry industry. “People see it as a bit of a lesser job, but it seems to me a very exciting industry where there is the opportunity for money, travel and meeting people,” he said.

“I did two weeks work over Easter and PD Hook have been fantastically accommodating. It is brilliant, especially in the current economic climate, that I can already say, in my second year of university, that I have got a job.”