Rob Stuart in a fieldRob Stuart

When Rob Stuart went to Ag Careers Live 2016 looking for help to take his next career step, little did he imagine he’d be starting a new job just six weeks later as a direct result of attending the event. A year on, Farmers Weekly caught up with him to find out more.

Rob went along to Ag Careers Live in November 2016 to get tips on how to sharpen up his CV. He also wanted to talk to the companies exhibiting about the opportunities in the industry for someone with his qualifications and skills.

He was conscious that his route into agriculture is a little different to that of many others in the industry.

See also: A guide to qualification levels in agriculture

While he has always been interested in rural life and countryside pursuits, he is not from a farming background. In fact, when he left school at 16 in 2002 he went straight into the building trade, where he worked for the next five years.

That came to an end when Rob, then 21, was involved as a passenger in a serious car accident that left him with multiple broken bones.

His injuries were so severe that it was three years before he was ready to work again.

Back to school

At that stage, realising that his time in the building trade was behind him, he decided to go back into education, enrolling at Moulton College in Northamptonshire on a countryside management course.

He admits that while he disliked school, he found he enjoyed studying at Moulton, finishing the course with a student of the year award and a triple distinction.

After that, he decided he would complete a foundation degree in agriculture, finishing that not long before he was 30.

While he considered staying on to do a full BSc honours degree, he decided that at his age it would be better to get real-life experience and earn some money. He took a job on a large arable unit before moving to a mixed family farm.

Improved CV

“I saw Ag Careers advertised and decided it would be a good place to go to think about my next step,” he says.

“I took my CV along and got some really good pointers on how to improve it.

“I also had some really good conversations with some of the people from the companies attending, including Cyril Cappe, general manager for Timac Agro UK, which develops, manufactures and sells specialist fertilisers and animal nutrition products.

“I explained my interest in getting into a sales role on the crop nutrition side and three days later I was pleased, if somewhat surprised, to be invited to an interview for my current role.”

Dream role

Rob started his new job as a crop nutritionist in January 2017 and eight months in he describes it as his dream role.

“I absolutely love it – it is the best job I have ever had,” he says.

“I love the fact that no day is ever the same and no farm is the same.

“I also like the challenge of problem solving to identify what products a farmer needs and building relationships with farmers.”

Advancement

Rob says he has already benefited from the company’s internal training programme and hopes to complete his Facts fertiliser training next year.

He likes the fact it is a job where he is always learning and appreciates it is a business that will offer scope for career advancement when he is ready for it.

“This year I have been asked to attend Ag Careers Live again – but this time on the Timac Agro stand.

“I see it as a bit of an honour, as obviously I was recruited there and I would like to help someone else to do the same.”


Farmers Weekly Ag Careers Live logo Talk directly to employers, get careers advice or find a job in agriculture at Farmers Weekly’s Ag Careers Live on 2 November at the Telford International Centre, Shropshire.

If you are a student, graduate or just looking for your next job, our national event can help you progress your career.

For further information, and to register for free, visit the Ag Careers Live website.