Royal Norfolk Show: Youngsters urged to enter the Norfolk Scholar competition

Norfolk scholars: Oscar Smith and Anna Purser

Norfolk scholars: Oscar Smith and Anna Purser - Credit: Archant

Norfolk youngsters have been urged to grasp the opportunity to become the county's farming scholars – giving them privileged access to one of the industry's foremost events.

The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) and property firm Bidwells are running the Norfolk Scholar competition for the fourth time this year.

The competition which was launched at the Royal Norfolk Show and aims to strengthen the region's agricultural sector, is open to anyone aged between 18 and 35, and who lives, works and/or studies in Norfolk.

To qualify for the fully-funded scholarship, applicants have to submit a short précis on how their attendance at the Oxford Farming Conference could benefit their professional lives and what they believe are the challenges facing UK agriculture. The winners of the two scholarships will then attend the three-day event, to learn from national and international speakers.

Greg Smith, chief executive of the RNAA, said: 'As an association we have a strong focus on bringing bright young people into the industry. All the past and present winners have proven to be excellent role models for the next generation of school-leavers and graduates looking to start their careers in the agricultural sector, and we hope to attract the same quality of applicants once again this year.'

Last year's winners Anna Purser, from Raveningham, and Oscar Smith, from Hellesdon, who both attend Easton and Otley College. They both recommended the scholarship programme to other young people.

Oscar said: 'The Oxford Farming Conference provided an environment which enabled me to speak to many people from different aspects of the industry as well as providing further opportunity for progression and development. As scholars we were fully immersed within the conference and were among the best looked-after.'

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Anna, whose ambition is to enter the livestock nutrition sector, said: 'Being a Norfolk Scholar meant that I was able to attend one of the most prestigious farming events in the agriculture calendar, of which I would probably not have been able to afford unless sponsored - and I would definitely not have been able to attend so many of the breakfasts, conferences and dinners on offer.'

Easton and Otley College spokesman John Nice, said: 'We would like to thank the RNAA and Bidwells for giving Anna and Oscar the chance to visit one of the most important academic agricultural conferences in the country. I know they gained a tremendous amount from this event and we would recommend that other young people from Norfolk apply to get involved in this amazing opportunity.'

For more details on the competition, click here. The closing date is October 7.