With the farming industry requiring 60,000 new employees by 2020 simply to replace existing farmers, Sainsbury’s is calling on young adults to consider a career in farming as it opens applications for its horticultural and agricultural apprenticeship programme.
The Sainsbury’s apprenticeship programme, which is run in partnership with Staffline, gives young people aged 16 and above the chance to work with some of the retailer’s most progressive food suppliers, many of whom use the latest innovations and technology in the sector – from learning the digital infrastructure of glasshouse computer systems to managing crop growth through the use of drones and smart phone apps.
Every 12 weeks apprentices visit different growers in Sainsbury’s supply chain, while in between visits they learn the practical aspects of their chosen career from harvesting; identifying and dealing with pests, diseases and disorders; planting; monitoring moisture and nutrients; pruning and use of state-of-the art equipment and digital tools.
Robert Honeysett, Sainsbury’s Horticultural Manager, said, “Our research reveals there’s a significant gap between what young people think of farming, and some of the jobs that are available today. We’re passionate in playing our part to support the future of British farming, and help attract young people into the industry.
“A third of those surveyed assume they need a family connection to break into the sector, which isn’t the case. We hope our apprenticeship programme will help show that there are a number of alternative routes into farming, and we’d encourage school leavers and young professionals to consider it. It’s one of the most dynamic industries in the UK to work in.”