Sainsbury’s apprenticeship scheme helps Soham man achieve his farming ambitions

Adam Hall who is an apprentice

Adam Hall who is an apprentice - Credit: Archant

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has helped a local man achieve his dream of working in agriculture and is now calling on other young adults to consider a career in farming.

Adam Hall who is an apprentice

Adam Hall who is an apprentice - Credit: Archant

Sainsbury’s is set it open applications for its horticultural and agricultural apprenticeship programme this September.

Research carried out by YouGov showed over three quarters (80%) of young adults still have outdated perceptions of what careers in the industry actually involve.

However, the study also found a third of those questioned selected criteria that match modern day careers in farming when they were asked to describe their ideal job.

Sainsbury’s hopes its apprenticeships will help invigorate interest in farming as a career when it opens applications today (Friday).


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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 the apprentices visit other growers in Sainsbury’s supply chain which means they get access to 44 days of off-the-job training.

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In between these visits the apprentices will be back at work learning 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.

Adam Hall, an apprentice at G’s Fresh in Soham, said: “I’ve always had an interest in farming but didn’t know how to get into it. Through this apprenticeship I’m now growing leafy salads and learning a lot about the industry, like how to run a business and market a product.

“I’ve also been using my digital skills much more than I expected, for example using software to ensure accurate records of spraying and irrigation are maintained. Many young people think that farmers ride a tractor all day, they don’t realise all the career options that are available.”

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.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who is the government’s Environment Secretary, said: “Food and farming is vital to Britain’s future, already contributing £100bn a year to the economy. The people who give this industry its extraordinary energy are some of the most innovative in the world and we want more young people to see food and farming as an attractive career.

“Over the next few years we will open up more opportunities for young people by trebling the number of apprenticeships across the sector. We hope to see more leading businesses, like Sainsbury’s, providing our next generation of farmers with the skills, confidence and opportunities to grow our industry.”

If you are interested in joining the scheme, or you would like to discuss further, please visit the Sainsbury’s webpage or email: farm.apprenticeships@sainsburys.co.uk.

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