A Scarborough firm has being working with fast food giant McDonald’s on a scheme to encourage young people to go into farming.
McCain, which is the sole supplier of potatoes to McDonald’s, has been key to the development of the Farm Forward programme and will be hosting the first students taking part in the work placement scheme just after Christmas.
McDonald’s UK is now inviting entries for the 2013 intake of its Progressive Young Farmer Training Programme.
The call comes as research commissioned by sector council Lantra shows that only one in 10 people working in the UK farming industry today are aged between 16 and 241.
More than 50,000 new people will be required to join the sector over the next ten years in order to secure the future of the industry.
The 12-month training programme is designed to help aspiring young farmers kick-start careers in the industry by providing them with the blend of farming and business skills needed to succeed in today’s modern farming sector.
It offers agricultural students the opportunity to trace McDonald’s ingredients right through the supply chain, from farms and abattoirs, to the restaurant front counter.
During their placement, students will be mentored by some of the UK’s top farmers, as well as working at the head offices of leading food manufacturers and production companies who supply menu ingredients to McDonald’s, such as McCain, OSI Food Solutions and Tulip.
Warren Anderson, director of UK supply chain at McDonald’s UK, said: “McDonald’s is one of the biggest customers of British and Irish agriculture, but in order to keep buying these quality ingredients we need to play our part in ensuring the industry has enough young farmers coming through who have the right blend of skills.
“Our Progressive Young Farmer Training Programme will help talented agricultural students accelerate their careers, but more widely it’s important for young people who are studying broader subjects such as business studies, maths and science to think seriously about a career in agriculture.
“Our first intake of students who are now five months into their placements tell us they’ve learnt so much already.
“As the programme enters its second year, we will continue using our track record and expertise in jobs and training, as well as our scale and supplier relationships, to offer more students unparalleled access to the full spectrum of the agricultural supply chain.”
For its 2013 intake, McDonald’s is looking for three students over the age of 18 who are passionate about a career in farming and currently studying towards an agricultural course at university or college.
The deadline for online applications is Friday November 23. Go to www.whatmakesmcdonalds.co.uk