Companies in the pig industry have until the end of this month to apply to take an agricultural student on in their business for a year.
The Pig Industry Scholarship has seen 35 students spend their placement year within the industry, with many finding employment with their placement companies after graduation.
For students, the scholarship provides a clear route into the pig industry and showcases the dynamic nature and variety of roles available throughout the supply chain.
For businesses, it offers first access to a pool of talent and an opportunity to appraise students during what is effectively a year-long interview.
Developed by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), National Pig Association (NPA) and Harper Adams University, it is now in its ninth year.
Pippa Handley, AHDB's senior knowledge exchange manager, said attracting new entrants and inspiring the younger generation to pursue a career was key if the sector was to stay successful.
"It means relationships can form between students and businesses early in their studies, leading to a continued interest and desire to remain in the industry.”
Companies that have taken part in the scheme include producers, those in the supply chain and non-governmental organisations.
Georgina Crayford, technical manager for pigs at Red Tractor, and a participant in the scheme, said the assurance scheme had offered its first Pig Industry Scholarship.
"We see this positively, both in terms of bringing valuable resource into the Red Tractor team and, long-term, hopefully encouraging new talent to embark on a career in the pig sector or wider agri-food industry.
“We believe Red Tractor’s unique position in the supply chain, engaging with farmers, processors, retailers, food brands and government, means we have a lot to offer our chosen scholar in terms of exposure and opportunity for professional development.”
Dearbhla Connell took part in the programme in 2019/20 and has since secured a Junior Account Manager position with her employer ABN.
She said: “Scholarship placements give employers an opportunity to demonstrate to students why they are passionate about the pig industry and the careers it can offer.
“Getting a detailed insight into a company helps students to make informed choices about the path they take after university and can provide a great opportunity to kick off a graduate career when you get on well with your placement sponsor.”
Companies who would like to find out more about taking part in the scheme can express an interest before 31 August.
Placements will run across the 2022/23 academic year.