10 February 2020

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Apprenticeships: From Apprentice to Deputy Farm Manager

Previous apprenticeship student Leighton Snelgrove started with Plumpton College on a Level 2 course. Leighton’s career has gone from strength to strength, find out more about his apprenticeship journey below and how it might inspire you to consider an apprenticeship in 2020.

“I started studying agriculture at Plumpton College in 2016 on a Level 2 extended diploma course. This course had so many opportunities for me because it was a perfect combination of practical and theory. We had terrific teaching at the college, and then a day-a-week work placement. Seeing how other farms worked widened my experience in a really effective and helpful way. At the end of the year I was honoured to be awarded the Best Agricultural Student for levels 1,2 and 3.

While I had learned a good deal, I knew I wanted more experience so I moved on to the Level 3 Apprenticeship Course and it proved to be a fantastic year.

One day a week was spent at the college working on my portfolio which was how students captured all that we learned on our placements – and where there were some knowledge gaps, the college filled them in for us .The portfolio covered a huge range of topics, from health and safety, to crop management and machinery.

I had a choice of where I wanted to do my apprenticeship and the subjects I wanted to complete by the end of the course.

This course opened up many avenues for my future career, and the college gave me so many opportunities I never would have had. Not only did I achieve my first aid at work, and many tickets the college provided but I completed a sheep shearing course and was able to show the college cattle.

At the end of the course I was thrilled to be shortlisted for the Apprenticeship of the Year – I was so proud and it made all the hard work more than worthwhile and I would recommend the course to anyone wanting a career in farming.

Has it paid off for me? I knew what I wanted to do and so was immensely proud to be appointed Deputy Farm Manager of a Pedigree Organic Sussex beef herd. I work hand in glove with the owner and farm manager constantly driving improvements in the health and welfare of the herd, the management of the grassland and the efficiency of the farm. Our ambition is to be as sustainable as we can be, financially and environmentally.

At the same time, I have started my own flock of sheep and managed to rent my own land. I have set up my own enterprise selling all my British grass fed lambs as meat boxes to the local community. My ambitions are to try and get the public to understand more about farming today and that farmers are heroes not villains! I also want to farm in the very best way I can, benefiting the environment while feeding people high quality food.

None of this would have been possible without the courses that I did at Plumpton College for which I am endlessly grateful.”

Leighton’s college tutor said:

“Leighton is a dedicated young man whose passion for livestock and agriculture is the driving force to his success. Leighton’s work ethic and mind set has helped him become the Deputy Manager at the farm where he completed his apprenticeship and he is a vital part of the business success story. I feel proud to have played a minor part of this young man's story and I am sure he will go on and achieve so much more.”

Leighton’s employer, Elizabeth said:

“Leighton was a fantastic apprentice. He was reliable and so keen to learn, becoming a vital part of our team. Furthermore, he made us much more aware of what we were doing and how we were doing it because it was our role to increase Leighton’s knowledge. I would encourage any business to consider taking on an apprentice.”

Apprenticeships give young people the chance to experience life in a real job where they will work a minimum of 30 hours per week. Students can begin an apprenticeship in over 170 industries and are not just for school leavers but for those looking to change career.

Discover employers looking to recruit apprentices right now and be sure to join us at our next Open Morning

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