Sainsbury’s opens applications for its horticultural and agricultural apprenticeship

LONDON, 2015-9-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sainsbury’s is calling on young adults to consider a career in farming as it opens applications for its horticultural and agricultural apprenticeship programme this September.

  • Research reveals that over a third of 16-24 year olds match the criteria for a modern day career in farming
  • The industry will need 60,000 new employees by 2020 just to replace retiring farmers
  • Sainsbury’s is the first retailer to launch an apprenticeship scheme for horticulture and agriculture

Through research carried out by YouGov over three quarters [80%] of young adults still have outdated perceptions of what careers in the industry actually involve.  Promisingly, however, the study further uncovered that over a third of young adults selected criteria that match modern day careers in farming when they were asked to describe their ideal job – access to the latest technology (selected by 28%), flexible working hours (56%) and variety in their day to day work.

With 39% of respondents to the new YouGov poll saying they would like more information about careers in farming, Sainsbury’s hopes it will be able invigorate increased interest in farming as a career when today it opens applications for the first apprenticeship for horticulture and agriculture to be launched by a retailer.

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. 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.

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.

“A third of those surveyed [31%] assume they need a family connection to break into the sector, which isn’t the case. We hope our apprenticeship programme will help show that there are a number of alternative routes into farming, and we’d encourage school leavers and young professionals to consider it.  It’s one of the most dynamic industries in the UK to work in.”

Elizabeth Truss, 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.”

Liam Walker, Apprentice at one of Sainsbury’s tomato suppliers, Cornerways Nursery said: “I’d never previously considered growing tomatoes as a potential career path but I’ve been very surprised about what this role actually involves. From needing to know how to run a business and market a product, I’ve also been using my digital skills much more than I expected, for example to control the glasshouse through a modern computer system. I think a lot of people my age don’t realise just how varied roles in this sector really are.”

If you are interested in joining the scheme, or you would like to discuss further, please visit the Sainsbury’s webpage or email:



Sainsbury’s opens applications for its horticultural and agricultural apprenticeship

Sainsbury’s opens applications for its horticultural and agricultural apprenticeship

Sainsbury’s starts national apprenticeship scheme for horticulture and agriculture this month

LONDON, 2014-9-22— /EPR Retail News/ — Apprentices this month started on the first retailer-led national apprenticeship scheme for horticulture and agriculture. Through the Sainsbury’s scheme, the retailer is offering a City & Guilds accredited Level 2 Diploma which will give the apprentices hands on, practical experience within horticulture suppliers to Sainsbury’s.

Working with Staffline Agriculture, the British Growers Association and EDGE Apprenticeships in Food and Farming, this is the first cohort on the scheme with further cohorts planned for 2015.  Each apprentice has a role at a grower supplying Sainsbury’s and receives classroom training as well as on the job assessment in order to gain their level 2 apprenticeship.

The apprentices began their 20-month-long placement this week with visits to Strawsons and Winchester Growers before starting in varied roles across Sainsbury’s fruit and vegetable suppliers from apples through to mushrooms.

Robert Honeysett, Sainsbury’s Horticultural Manager said: “Food production across Agriculture and Horticulture is becoming ever more important to the UK, our apprenticeship is about bringing talented and dedicated people into our supply chain so we can plan for the future’.

It’s exciting that the apprentices have started this week and we encourage employers and potential apprentices to get in contact if they’re interested in joining subsequent groups.”

Alex Parkinson, Sainsbury’s Horticultural Apprentice said: “I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into my role at Taylorgrown. Sainsbury has created a fantastic opportunity and I’m particularly interested in learning all aspects of the job to give me the experience I need to one day become a farm manager.”

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop the next generation of skilled colleagues through a combination of on and off the job training while gaining valuable experience within a role throughout their apprenticeship.

Notes to editors:

Information for Employer

Information for Apprentice

Sainsbury’s Agriculture and Horticulture Apprenticeship is City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Horticulture production

Placements are with the following suppliers

  • Cornerways Nursery
  • Monaghan Mushrooms
  • Allpress Farms
  • G’s Fresh
  • AC Goatham & Son
  • New Farm Produce
  • Taylorgrown
  • Vitacress

Register your interest

If you are interested in joining the scheme, or you would like to discuss further, please email:

Our scheme partners

Staffline are a national recruitment and training organisation working predominantly in the food manufacturing sector with specialist divisions. With over 600 clients and 30,000 flexible workers located across the UK, Staffline are experts in providing workforces that are consistent or can flex in line with seasonal peaks and troughs.

Staffline Agriculture specialise in recruitment for direct employment and on an agency model within the agriculture and horticulture sector, as well as being a specialist City and Guilds Approved training provider.

Staffline will work with Sainsbury’s and BGA to organise and run the apprenticeship scheme from a logistical perspective and can act as the employer for apprentices under the Apprenticeship Training Agency model.

British Growers Association provides representation, leadership, coordination, expertise and support services for British growers. BGA maintain key relationships with Government departments, working alongside complementary industry Representative and Research bodies.

Along with Staffline, BGA will ensure a consistent national delivery network of the Apprenticeship Scheme is achieved and use their expertise to facilitate year round apprentice employment within the industry. Although BGA primarily represent growers, their knowledge and contacts extend to the livestock industry.

EDGE Apprenticeships in Food & Farming is an industry-led scheme that aims to educate, develop, grow and employ young people, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed.

The scheme was launched in March 2013 and will tackle skills shortages and a widening age gap in the food and farming industries. It has received industry-wide backing and is already successfully matching bright and enthusiastic young people with dynamic and exciting job opportunities.

The programme is led by employers and will help to attract the best young people, organise their training and simplify the process to encourage businesses to get involved and take on an apprentice.


Sainsbury’s starts national apprenticeship scheme for horticulture and agriculture this month

Sainsbury’s starts national apprenticeship scheme for horticulture and agriculture this month