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10 years of Pig Industry Scholarship Partnership celebrated at British Pig & Poultry Fair

16th May 2024 / By Alistair Driver

The tenth anniversary of the successful Pig Industry Scholarship Partnership was celebrated during an NPA reception at the British Pig & Poultry Fair on Wednesday afternoon. 

NPA Pig Industry ScholarshipThe partnership has for a decade brought together Harper Adams University, AHDB and the NPA to secure pig industry placements for students seeking careers in the pig sector. During that time, 50 student placements have been offered to a variety of companies within the pig sector, many of which remain in the industry today. 

During the NPA reception, former NPA vice-chair Hugh Crabtree, who has been a driving force of the scheme for many years, was joined by current and former Harper students who have benefited from the scheme over the years.

Before cutting the celebratory cake with AHDB's head of engagement for pork, Charlotte Evans, and Caroline Mason, development trust officer at Harper Adams, and setting off a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, Hugh described the scheme as a 'triumph'. 

He explained how the idea was born from the NPA’s Allied Industry Group, which tried to run a vacancy on the association's website. It didn't work, so, insteads, the scholarship was set up, based on an initiative in the poultry.

"And so started the Pig Industry Scholarship Programme," Hugh said. "This was in recognition of the the challenge of getting people into this wonderful sector, in which we have all become pig industry 'lifers' - and and some of the scholars here now, I hope, will also become lifers." 

"Quite a lot of money has flowed into the development trust at Harper Adams, who have been spectacularly professional in matching young talents with people are interested in getting involved in graduate recruitment under the administration of AHDB and I chair the steering steering group, which remains a successful tripartite collaboration.  

"In my view it’s been a real triumph and more and more companires are recognising that there's a lot of exciting young talent coming through Harper looking for opportinities - and, my, have we got opportunities in this wonderful industry!"

NPA Pig Industry Scholarship 1

The current and former students present included Josie Hatch, who was among the first ever cohort of placements in 2014, and remains at the same company, Cargill, today as its marketing communications specialist UK and Ireland. 

She said: "They had the scholarship at Harper Adams and I knew I wanted to work for a nutrition company and Cargill were one of the companies I was interested in. They were at the Scholarship Fair, so I went and spoke to the two representatives, went through the interview process and won a scholarship. 

 "I did my placement with the pig teams, supporting the sales team and did some desktop research, among other things. Before the scholarship I had no previous pig industry experience, so this was my route into the pig industry where I remain today!"