May 25 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, January 26, 2013
A trainee from Co-operative Farms has been appointed as assistant manager at its Coldham estate in Cambridgeshire after completing its graduate management programme.
Jack Smith, 24, has been rewarded with the opportunity to progress into senior management with one of Britain’s biggest farmers.
He will be based at Coldham, near Wisbech, where Co-operative Farms owns more than 1,500 hectares and has grown onions, potatoes, shallots, sugar beet, beans, wheat and rapeseed for more than 100 years.
It runs two highly-regarded graduate management programmes - fresh produce and mechanised cropping - which are designed to train and develop future farm and business managers.
Mr Smith has completed the fresh produce management programme, which focuses on the whole supply chain from production through to retail buying. During the two-year scheme he undertook four placements, two on farms, one at the Co-operative Group’s head office in Manchester and one at a pack house. He also has a BASIS certificate in arable crops.
The Co-op introduced its management training scheme in 1965 in order to recognise the importance of investing in its people and developing skills and talent to produce the best farm managers.
Dave Watson, who is the Co-op’s head of arable operations, graduated from the same scheme 28 years ago.
He said: “Jack has worked extremely hard during his training and thoroughly deserves his new role. He is the latest in a long line of graduates to complete the scheme, many of whom have gone on to manage farms and are still with the business today.
“The Co-operative Farms’ graduate management programme is one of the best there is in the industry. It not only provides a great opportunity for ambitious graduates to prepare for a management role in agriculture, but also for the business, which is part of The Co-operative Food, to develop its leaders of the future.”
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers.
n David Gardner, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, who as reported in the EDP’s Farm & Country last Saturday, also started his career as a management trainee with Co-op Farms in 1981.
Norfolk turkey giant Bernard Matthews is in talks to sell a stake in the business.