Esther Harvey, 19, from Kent and farm apprentice at A C Goatham & Son has been crowned Sainsbury’s ‘Agriculture and Horticulture Apprentice of the year’.

One of our seven agriculture apprentices, Esther, was shortlisted from the Sainsbury’s Agriculture and Horticulture Apprentices programme before being presented with the award at the Sainsbury’s Farming Conference held on Friday 4 December 2015.

Esther Harvey comments:

I am absolutely delighted to be named Sainsbury’s Agriculture and Horticulture Apprentice of the year, it was a real surprise when they called out my name. I am really enjoying combining work and learning as every day is different and it is very hands on. I like to be outside and I feel this role is helping me to learn a real variety of skills, which will be essential for my future career in the industry. Working in the horticultural sector is really interesting and I would recommend anyone who is looking for a job to consider it.

Nigel Stewart, Technical Director at A C Goatham & Son comments: “We are thrilled for Esther on her much deserved award win. Both of our farm apprentices have worked really hard this year, but Esther in particular has stood out for her endless enthusiasm and willingness to learn. A farm apprenticeship is a great way into the farming and horticultural industry and modern operations need young people with a range of skills to fulfil the many thousands of roles across the industry.”

The whole farming industry in the UK needs 60,000 new employees by 2020, just to replace the number of retiring farmers in the UK. With food and farming contributing around £100bn to the whole UK economy, more young people should be considering a career in farming.

For employers and employees interested in the Sainsbury’s Horticulture and Agriculture apprenticeship scheme can find more information here. As part of Staffline group, we work with Sainsbury's to organise and run the apprenticeship scheme from a logistical perspective and we act as the employer for agriculture apprentices under the Apprenticeship Training Agency model.

Nigel Stewart continues: “Apple and pear growing in Kent is an increasing sector thanks to investment by growers like ourselves and new technology and there are many full time and seasonal roles to suit people with a range of skills. We need to encourage as many young people as possible to consider it for their future career to fulfil staffing needs in the sector in the future.”

Mike Dodd, Training Manager for Staffline Agriculture, who deliver the qualification Esther is working towards in conjunction with Sainsbury’s comments: “I am extremely pleased for Esther. She has shown great commitment throughout the programme and is a credit to her employer. I am looking forward to seeing Esther progress on to Level 3 of the scheme and furthering her career in the top fruit industry through the apprenticeship route.”