Farmer driving harvester ©Rex/Cultura© Rex/Cultura

Aspiring young farmers have less than 10 days to apply for a year-long training scheme aimed at encouraging more people to consider a career in agriculture.

Designed to cultivate the best of British farming talent, the Progressive Young Farmer Training Programme was launched by McDonald’s in response to a skills gap in the UK agricultural sector.

Three places are available for the 2015/16 intake. Applications close on 16 January.

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Students are mentored by farmers and given first-hand experience of practical farming and business management, as well as a unique opportunity to trace the entire supply chain of McDonald’s ingredients from farms to the restaurant’s front counter.

Successful applicants spend a year working from farm to fork along the McDonald’s supply chain, including four months on a farm, three months with a multi-national food processor and time in one of the company’s busiest London restaurants.

Connor McVeigh, director of McDonald’s UK supply chain, told Oxford Farming Conference delegates that youngsters from all backgrounds should consider a future in farming.

Students at all colleges and universities, not just those studying agriculture, were invited to apply, he said.

“To us, this means creating opportunities for new talent to have access to the most progressive farmers and latest technology, which includes young people with and without farming backgrounds to consider a career in agriculture.”

The scheme has won the support of farm minister George Eustice. He said: “Food and farming are the cornerstone of our £210 billion-a-year rural economy and we need innovative new entrants coming into the sector who are able to meet the challenges that agriculture will face.”

For details, visit: the McDonald’s Join the team page