Inspiring the next crop

by Lawrence Frohn, May 23, 2018

Making time for activities aimed at encouraging secondary school students to take an interest in agriculture and the food industry is very important to us at Hillfarm. We’re involved in a range of projects to promote our sector to the next generation, as we explain here. 

In March we shared a little of what we do with primary age pupils, who love to see how our rapeseed crops are grown, harvested, pressed and bottled. The secondary school pupils we work with are no less enthusiastic about an opportunity to take a break from their normal timetable to discover more about our business and processes. With curriculum choices and further education decisions ahead, a hands-on experience with a company who is making a success out of agriculture and food production might just be pivotal for a next generation farmer, food producer or businessperson. 

Food and Farming Student Day at Hollow Trees Farm 

The annual Food and Farming Student Day gives 13-16-year-olds the chance to find out more about possible careers in the agricultural and food industries as well as in wildlife and conservation. Organised by Hollow Trees Farm, Easton and Otley College and Suffolk Agricultural Association, the next event takes place on Wednesday 20 June at Hollow Trees Farm in Semer, Suffolk. 

For any young person deciding his or her career path, this event provides a fantastic taster of the wide range of career paths available in our industry, and we feel particularly proud to be a part of it. When today’s students enter the workplace, there is expected to be a short fall of some 60,000 skilled workers in the agricultural industry, so events like these are essential for giving pupils a chance to discover more about the opportunities in this sector. 

Groups of 10 to 15 students spend about half an hour with us on our stand listening to our short talks and participating in question and answer sessions. As well as meeting industry representatives like ourselves who can advise students about the wide range of opportunities available in this sector, students can also take part in workshops based on activities they would complete on relevant further education courses. 

Hollow Trees Farm has been hosting this event since 2008 and it’s always a great success with an atmosphere that fits perfectly with the food, farming and wildlife theme.   

Framlingham College Prep School cap competition 

This summer, we’re delighted to be working with students of Framlingham College Prep School, who will be coming up with a design for our new bottle lids to be launched in the autumn.   

The students will visit Hillfarm to listen to our creative designer explain his role and how he produces new designs. Before getting started on their designs for our bottle lids, the students will also see our oil being pressed and bottled and hear about how our environmental ethos underpins our work. 

We hope all the students will gain a valuable insight into our part in the food industry, and creative ones with an interest in graphic design will enjoy learning from a professional. We also hope the students will come up with some interesting new design angles for us to present in the future! 

Business Association of Stradbroke High

Hillfarm is proud to be a member of the Business Association of Stradbroke High (BASH), which was formed to assist pupils by building links between the classroom and the workplace. Local business members offer various resources to students that help with their education and preparation for the world of work.

Hillfarm has provided interview practice for pupils to prepare them for their first real job interviews as well as work experience placements. We have also advised pupils at careers days and arranged visits to our production factory. 

We’ve also supplied ‘real life’ mathematics calculations for lessons to demonstrate how maths is applied in the workplace and assisted with the design and production of promotional material for school plays. 

Why we do it

All the work we do with students is incredibly rewarding. During the secondary school years, important decisions are made that can have a great impact on a student’s career and life. Here at Hillfarm, we all feel very lucky to be doing what we do. If we can help young people find enthusiasm and motivation to work towards careers that they will find as rewarding and fulfilling as ours, that will be our greatest achievement of all. 

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