Pig Industry Scholarship Programme offers recruitment opportunities

Friday, 19 April 2024

The Pig Industry Scholarship Programme is delivered through collaboration between AHDB, the National Pig Association (NPA), and Harper Adams University. Below, Hugh Crabtree, Pork Sector Council Member, explains why it is such an important initiative.

UK agriculture is facing a big challenge in finding the talent it needs to feed a growing population while lowering its environmental impact. Technology is progressing rapidly in all industrial sectors and so bright new people are needed to manage it.

The Pig Industry Scholarship Programme came about because the UK pig industry recognised this and the need to excite more young people about the huge range of opportunities on offer. Whether it is pig production management, veterinary science, food processing and manufacturing, genetic science, pharmaceuticals, or engineering in all its forms, the list of opportunities goes on. 

The programme has spent over a decade establishing itself as an important player in providing graduate talent to the UK pig industry.

More than 50 scholarships have been awarded by 19 companies after considering nearly 370 applications.

The programme is managed by a steering group of industry and university people, chaired by me, and AHDB provides the vital resource umbrella to operate it.

For years Harper Adams University has collaborated with industry – it is in its DNA. At Harper, every student undertakes a 12-month industrial placement as part of their degree, this results in a very high level of graduate employment. Harper’s Development Trust is excellent at helping businesses find the right talent.

I have always had an interest in encouraging young people into agriculture, my chosen sector in particular. This programme now operates successfully and has delivered some first-rate people into the pig industry who are already making important contributions to its future. Now we need to grow the number of companies offering scholarships by helping them realise the value of the programme in recruitment.

The process of completing the programme is straightforward, and Harper’s Development Trust provides hands-on support throughout. There is a wide range of interests, skills and talents available in each cohort of students, and the programme ensures companies offering scholarship placements get access to the pick of the crop.

It is important for companies to remember, though, that it is a competitive market and they must recognise the need to sell themselves to prospective graduate recruits.

The Pig Industry Scholarship Programme is also a way to raise the profile of the companies offering scholarship placements. The level of engagement with the programme clearly demonstrates the business is looking for new talent and putting its money where its mouth is to help people into the UK food production industry.

The pig industry will continue to work with Harper Adams University, who have been excellent partners and can offer so much experience in this area. However, we look forward to the day when we have to extend our reach to other establishments because the programme is so successful!

For more details, contact Doris Taylor from the Development Trust at Harper Adams University: dtaylor@harper-adams.ac.uk

Learn more about the Pig Industry Scholarship Programme

Image of staff member Hugh Crabtree

Hugh Crabtree

Pork Sector Council Member (Independent)

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