Enter the 2016 Farmers Apprentice competition for your chance to win a £25,000, year-long internship with Farmcare, one of Britain’s leading farming business.
We are asking 18- to 25-year-olds from all walks of life to submit a one-minute video of why they should be selected to attend an intensive, week-long bootcamp at Bishop Burton agricultural college.
The experience has been transformational for the 20 apprentices that have taken part so far, with many of them now working in leading agriculture businesses.
See the Farmers Apprentice website for details on how you can apply to take part in the competition.
This time round, the winner will be able to make their mark in Farmcare, which manages more than 20,000ha of fruit, vegetables and cereals from Carnoustie in Scotland to Kent.
We talked to an apprentice currently working at Farmcare to find out what the job’s like and where he’s headed with his career.
Aberdeen graduate Alistair McBain is six months into a two-year internship with Farmcare and is a fantastic advertisement for the breadth of experience the company has to offer.
Exposure to all of the sectors in which Farmcare operates and contact with Farmcare experts from across the industry
In June, he started working at Coldham Estates in March, Cambridgeshire, where he was involved in onion and potato logistics: “It was hectic trying to keep the haulage matched to harvest and speed of grading but really fun and rewarding. I learned a huge amount,” says Alistair.
What does the Farmers Apprentice win?
A one-year internship with Farmcare, worth £25,000, which includes:
- Accommodation or assistance with housing (part of the £25,000 package)
- Project management skills development
- Taking ownership of individual projects early in the placement
- A designated line manager throughout the year and regular catch-ups to help direct learning and ensure both Farmcare and the winner get the most out of the experience
- Machinery training
- Use of a phone and laptop
- Potential for additional directed learning from Farmcare (night classes)
He then moved to the packhouse at Carnoustie last November to help develop software for due diligence and food safety as well as collating crop records.
He is now back at Coldham, where he is working with HR to analyse and compile training needs and create an induction pack for new starters.
At the end of the month, he heads off to Kent, where he is being put in charge of 10ha of a PYO fruit and vegetables operation.
He has a budget and clear financial targets to meet and will be expected to make cropping and agronomy decisions, as well as market and front the PYO operation to grow customer numbers and profit.
Meanwhile, Alistair is involved in the company’s innovation group, with a remit to explore new ways to improve efficiency and drive profits throughout the food chain.
“We have been looking outside the industry for innovation and recently visited the Jaguar production line, which was an eye-opener,” he says.
“No other farming company can offer the breadth, and intensity, of experience that Farmcare can,” he adds.
“We are literally field to fork, supplying a wide range of retail customers, which gives you a unique insight on the whole food chain.”
Moving round the country hasn’t been a problem for Alistair.
“Farmcare has been fantastic at finding lodgings for me, and I have been fortunate that my girlfriend has been able to come with me and also found work with Farmcare.”
“You are treated as one of the team, with no training too big or too small”, says Alistair.
This internship is the fastest way to become a farm manager, which is where I want to be in five years’ time, he added.
Farmcare CEO Richard Quinn says, “There is great potential for the winner to make this role their own.”
“The direction of the placement will be determined by how the winning apprentice approaches it, what they want from it, and where they chose to focus their energy. This is what makes the opportunity so exciting.”
Mr Quinn is looking for someone who is adaptable, curious and eager to learn and quick to integrate within the environment and teams in which they will be working: “I want to see someone who continually learns and improves from day one at bootcamp,” he says.
Farmers Apprentice partners
Working together to inspire bright young talent into the industry and showcase the breadth of career opportunities.