Enter Farmers Apprentice – you could win £10,000

Farmers Weekly’s search for the best young farmers and business minds to take on farming’s toughest tasks and potentially win £10,000 is back. Register your interest here.

If British farming is to thrive it needs to make sure we can attract the right sort of people into the industry and give them the right skills to take the sector forward.

That’s a statement that no one can disagree with – which is why Farmers Weekly is delighted to announce that our ground-breaking Farmers Apprentice initiative is back for 2014 and it is bigger and better than ever before.

The aims of the scheme are the same as when we ran the Farmers Apprentice back in 2012.

“Campaigns such as Farmers Apprentice are an important part of how we promote the industry as an attractive career choice and I fully support it. There’s a range of careers available across the industry from farming and engineering, to marketing and science jobs and we’re working hard to support new entrants into these jobs.” George Eustice, farming minister

We want to showcase to people who aren’t necessarily thinking of a farming career that agriculture presents some fabulous opportunities. We need to make sure farming gets its share of the brightest and best brains in the country.

Just as crucially we want to give young people who are already embarking on their farming career the opportunity to fast-track themselves to success.

Talk to almost any company working in the agricultural sector – from farmers to suppliers – and the message comes through loud and clear that farming is facing a skills crisis.

Our industry doesn’t just need people, it needs to make sure it has the right people – people who have the business knowledge, marketing acumen and people management skills to match their technical knowledge.

The Farmers Apprentice is about helping people get there.

How to enter

  • STEP 1: If you’re aged between 18 and 25 on 20 July 2014, register your interest at www.farmersapprentice.co.uk. Easy.
  • STEP 2: Put the bootcamp dates in your diary. You need to be available from 20-26 July 2014
  • STEP 3: Get your camera out and tell us in 60 seconds why you’re awesome. Don’t be shy, and remember to smile.
  • STEP 4: Upload it to YouTube by 30 May and send us a link to your video. Job done.
  • STEP 5: Wait to hear if you’re one of the lucky 10 picked for bootcamp.

What’s involved?

After the initial entry process, we’ll select a line-up on 10 successful applicants who will take part in a week long bootcamp, which gives the finalists a crash course on what it takes to run a modern farming operation.

We’ve teamed up with some of agriculture’s leading businesses including McDonald’s, Bayer CropScience, The Co-operative, New Holland Agriculture, Anglia Farmers, Edge Apprenticeships and Easton & Otley College to ensure the 10 finalists get a wealth of experience and opportunity from the competition.

All the action from bootcamp will be filmed and you will be able to watch the finalists’ highs and lows in a six-part series of films that will be broadcast towards the end of the year.

The person who impresses the most will walk away with a £10,000 prize to help kick-start their farming career.

Who is it aimed at?

We want to see applicants from the farming industry, who want to broaden their horizons and add to their CVs, to prove they have what it takes to get to the top.

We’ll also be looking for some young people from outside of farming to get involved – would-be farmers who may lack practical know-how at this stage, but have the underlying skills to make their mark.

Positive prospects

The industry has a really good story to tell.

Farmers Weekly’s own research on pay and benefits revealed an agricultural labour force that was overwhelmingly positive about their lot. 76% of respondents said they were happy with their jobs, 75% said their work was interesting, over two thirds rated their employers as good or excellent and the majority of people would recommend it as a career.

One farmworker who responded to the survey said: “Every day is a challenge. Every day is different. I’m a stockman, I’m a welder, I’m a electrical engineer, I’m a plumber, I’m a builder, I’m a computer genius, I can sort just about anything and I can drive everything. Like the army says ‘be the best get a career in farming!”

Government research also placed farmers and agricultural managers in the top 10 jobs ranked by life satisfaction. By contrast typical city jobs – IT professionals, estate agents and finance officers – all ranked in the bottom half of the table. All the signs are that even for the most sceptical parent, teacher, careers adviser or farmer, agriculture has become an increasingly attractive place to work.

George Brown, a Cambridge graduate who won the Farmers Apprentice competition in 2012, is a terrific example of the kind of people now looking to enter the industry. “There’s no way that working in the city is a better choice of career than agriculture,” he says .

“The networking opportunity that came with the competition was invaluable, and has ultimately led to me securing a fantastic new position on a Cumbrian dairy farm. The bootcamp was challenging but great fun, and there aren’t too many other ways that I could acquire £10,000 in a week!”

To find out more about the competition visit www.farmersapprentice.co.uk

Who’s backing the challenge and competition?

Connor-McVeigh Connor McVeigh, McDonald’s UK

“As one of the biggest customers of British and Irish farming, serving more than three million customers every day, we are passionate about helping more young people break into the sector. For 40 years, our customers have enjoyed great-tasting, quality British and Irish produce. Attracting new talent and skills to the sector is crucial for securing the future of UK farming and providing us with an assured supply of quality ingredients for our menu.”

Clarke-Willis Clarke Willis, Anglia Farmers and Edge Apprenticeships

“This competition is a great way to highlight the huge range of careers available in the industry to talented young people. EDGE Apprenticeships was set up to address the age and skills gaps in agricultural businesses and at Anglia Farmers this is a challenge we want to address head-on by encouraging the brightest young people into the industry.”

Phillippa-Overson Philippa Overson, Bayer CropScience

“Farming is facing a skills crisis. Attracting top-class talent into Bayer CropScience – and indeed all sectors of our industry – is an ongoing priority. We have to persuade young people it is an exciting world to live and work in. Initiatives such as Farmers Apprentice are an excellent example of a scheme that can do just that.”

Richard-Quinn Richard Quinn, The Co-operative

“We’re going to need the best minds at work to ensure we can continue to provide our customers with top-quality food. As Britain’s leading local convenience business The Co-operative is delighted to support this initiative and the farmers of the future.”

Andrew Watson Andrew Watson, New Holland UK & ROI

“New Holland congratulates Farmers Weekly on this initiative and are very proud to sponsor and contribute to the Farmers Apprentice project. Developing the experiences and knowledge within the farming industry is absolutely core to its future well-being.”

David-Lawrence David Lawrence, Easton & Otley College

“This competition is a really innovative way of getting across the opportunities we have in our industry and inspiring more people to take up careers in agriculture in a fun and interactive way. Part of that challenge is to ensure we have people with the right technical skills entering the industry and that is why we are delighted to be part of this competition.”