Bright future for Hartpury College

Hartpury College has been recognised as one of the best in the country for providing agricultural and land-based qualifications.

The Gloucestershire college, which grew from 60 full-time students in 1990 to 3300 today, has been ranked “outstanding” in an Ofsted inspection, becoming one of only three UK specialist residential colleges to receive the accolade.

Its facilities, staff, security and safety were all highly praised as well as the promotion of equality, diversity and ensuring educational opportunities for all.

Principal Malcolm Wharton says the £40m of investment in residential, commercial and educational resources over the last 15 years has been a big factor.

“I also feel that while we identified new curriculum areas we knew would attract students, mainly in sport and equine, we realised the importance of retaining agriculture as a core focus.”

Mr Wharton believes there are plenty of opportunities for youngsters who wish to work in the industry. “The decline in land available for cultivation due to industrialisation and growth in global populations, demand for high protein diets in China and India, plus the growing threat of climate change means we are going to need well-educated, highly skilled and entrepreneurial young people involved in the agricultural industry,” he says.

“It seems the government has finally caught on to the importance of UK food production. Investing in the skills and knowledge to be able to do this in the most sustainable, economically viable and environmentally friendly way will ensure the industry prospers in the future.

“There is a huge need to train a new generation of youngsters who will come into this rewarding industry and tackle the potential environmental and economic challenges of the future.”