Harper Adams to host Farmers Apprentice bootcamp

The venue for this year’s Farmers Apprentice bootcamp will be Harper Adams University in Shropshire. It’s a perfect fit – a competition that attracts hugely talented youngsters being held at a campus that has a long track record in doing precisely the same.


Farmers Apprentice is a competition offering the experience of a lifetime – so where better to host bootcamp than a leading land-based university?

From humble beginnings when it opened its doors in 1901, Harper Adams University has moved with the times, grown rapidly and made a series of multimillion-pound investments in its facilities.

See also: ‘Farmers Apprentice is one of the best things I’ve done’

It’s a venue with a proud heritage, but also a real focus on cutting-edge thinking and innovation, with facilities including the Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre and a robotic dairy unit.

Our apprentice candidates will find it the perfect place to learn how powerful combining history and high-tech can be.


The 2,800 undergraduate students who attend Harper follow a huge range of courses – everything from Engineering and Zoology to Animal Sciences and Applied Biology – but farming is at the heart of the place, with the campus set on the university’s 635ha mixed farm.

Its emphasis is on combining productivity with sustainability – a concept that is central to the Farmers Apprentice ethos.

We know that those working in today’s competitive and volatile global market need a mix of attributes – including managerial, practical, technical and interpersonal ones. We will help you hone your skills in all these areas and more.


The world faces some big challenges – and they don’t come much bigger than feeding the rapidly growing population.

It’s the current generation of young people that will have to find solutions to these issues – and top-notch research will be needed like never before.

Our 10 apprentices will certainly get some inspiration at Harper, where academics from across disciplines come together with students and the industry to conduct internationally important research that shapes professional practice, government policy and the application of new technologies.

Candidates will get an insight into this work during their week’s stay – as well as benefit from the experiences of influential visiting speakers.


It’s partly the people who make careers in farming and food as fulfilling as they are – and anyone who has studied at Harper will tell you they have met some fantastic fellow students and teaching staff.

Make it through to bootcamp and it will be the same – it might only last a week, but the Farmers Apprentice is one experience you will never forget.

In fact, we are confident it will be one of the best, most enjoyable things you have ever done. As an opportunity to network, it’s unrivalled.

Yes, you will be vying with the other competitors for the coveted first prize, but previous entrants have said that they have made friends for life during this fun and action-packed week.


We are not expecting all our apprentice candidates necessarily to have bags of experience before bootcamp – it’s what you learn while you are there and how you apply it that is important.

We want to see candidates who can show they can think on their feet when faced with real-world problems. It’s a philosophy shared by Harper, which prides itself on producing work-ready graduates.

Whether they are seeking farm managers, food retailers, surveyors or scientists, employers value the applied nature of the teaching and the sandwich placement year in industry that nearly all undergrads complete.


Taking part in the Farmers Apprentice can be a significant addition to your CV. What employer would not be wowed, after all, by seeing you had made it to the finals of such a prestigious competition?

So it’s fitting that this year’s competition will take place at a venue with an unrivalled reputation. Harper was named the UK’s Best Modern University in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

The 2017 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey also showed it to have the joint-highest graduate employment rate of any English university. It’s a first-class experience in a first-class, rural environment.

What is Farmers Apprentice?

From farm to fork, businesses are on the hunt for the best new recruits. It’s vital, therefore, that the most capable members of the next generation – both from farming and non-farming backgrounds – chose careers in farming and the food chain.

Run by Farmers Weekly, Farmers Apprentice is a unique competition giving young people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop their skills and progress their careers.

We will pick 10 of them to take part in our week-long, summer residential bootcamp that will put them through their paces in a range of tasks and culminate in one being crowned Farmers Weekly Farmers Apprentice 2018.

You could win £10,000

That’s right – £10,000 to help you kick-start your career. We will help you invest that money wisely, by giving you access to a mentor who can help make sure it makes the maximum difference to your prospects. What would you spend the money on?

Would you buy livestock to establish a flock or herd? A piece of machinery that enables you to expand an existing enterprise? Broaden your skills by funding training or education?

Or perhaps even take a trip abroad to learn from our overseas counterparts? One thing’s for sure: the chance to win £10,000 doesn’t come along every day.

How to enter

You must be between 18 and 25 on the closing date of 31 March 2018, and be available for bootcamp week from 15 to 20 July 2018. If that’s you, then:

  • Go to the Farmers Apprentice website
  • Fill out the short application form, giving a succinct sense of why you are a rising star
  • Make a one-minute video on why you think you should be the next Farmers Apprentice, post it to YouTube and share the link with us on the entry form
  • Keep your fingers crossed – and wait for Farmers Weekly to get in touch!