Shropshire Star

Pig industry scholarship programme offers new job opportunities

UK agriculture is facing a big challenge: it needs to find fresh new talent while lowering its environmental impact. Technology is progressing rapidly, and bright new people are needed to manage it.

Hugh Crabtree

The Pig Industry Scholarship Programme (PISP) was created because the UK pig industry recognised the need to inform young people about opportunities and get them excited about a career in farming.

From pig production management to veterinary science, food processing and manufacture, genetic science, pharmaceuticals, and engineering, the list of opportunities is endless.

After more than a decade, PISP has established itself as an important player in providing graduate talent to the UK pig industry.

More than 50 scholarships have been awarded by 19 companies, with nearly 370 applications considered.

It’s managed by a steering group of industry and university people, with myself as chair, and AHDB provides the vital resource umbrella to operate it. Harper Adams University has been collaborating with the industry for many years now and it’s in its DNA.

At Harper, students undertake a 12-month industrial placement which results in a very high level of graduate employment.

Harper’s Development Trust is excellent at helping businesses find the right talent.

I’ve always had an interest in encouraging young people into agriculture, particularly my own sector. PISP now operates successfully and has delivered some first-rate people into the industry who are already making important contributions to its future. We now need to help more companies offer scholarships by showing them the value of PISP in the recruitment process.

It’s a straightforward programme to complete and students are supported throughout by Harper’s Development Trust. There’s a wide range of interests, skills, and talents available in each cohort, and the programme ensures companies offering scholarship placements get access to the pick of the crop.

But it’s important for companies to remember that the market is competitive and to recognise that they need to sell themselves to prospective graduate recruits.

PISP is also a way to raise the profile of the companies offering scholarship placements.

Engaging with the programme in the first place clearly demonstrates that a 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. But we also look forward to the day when we must extend our reach to other schools because the programme is so successful!

The Pig Industry Scholarship Programme is an industry initiative provided through collaboration between the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the National Pig Association (NPA), and Harper Adams University. For more details, contact Director of Development and Alumni Relation Doris Taylor from the Development Trust at Harper Adams University:

by Hugh Crabtree, Owner/Director Farmex Ltd and AHDB Pork Sector Council Member

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