The Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society (NNAS) has launched its fourth Midlands Agricultural Engineering Apprenticeship Awards in a bid to support young people as they develop the skills they need during these challenging times.

Department of Education data released in June revealed that the number of people starting on apprenticeships halved during lockdown.

Despite a challenging year, NNAS has teamed up with former President of the NNAS Geoffrey Bond OBE DL, to recognise the valuable contribution apprentices make across the agricultural industry.

Now in its fourth year, the NNAS apprenticeship scheme has supported a total of 30 young apprentices from a range of different backgrounds and with a diverse mix of skills.

Each winner will be chosen by a panel of NNAS judges, and will be in with a chance to receive a total grant of £500, funded by NNAS with support from Geoffrey Bond OBE DL.

‘Covid-19 has hit apprenticeships hard’

Simon Eccleston, chief executive for Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, said:

“There is no getting away from the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit apprenticeships hard across the UK.

Now, more than ever, young agricultural apprentices deserve new and exciting opportunities to inspire them and help support the experience, skills and confidence they need as they head into their future careers.

“Investing in youth and supporting the next wave of agricultural engineering talent is really important to us and a key part of our Education Programme.

“2020 has been such a challenging year, so we’re delighted to be able to offer up this support. We’ve seen first-hand what an important impact these awards can have, so we really look forward to seeing the new winners benefit as much as last year’s recipients did.”

Geoffrey Bond OBE, DL added:

I’m very passionate about supporting young people in education which is why I’m delighted to be able to support this apprenticeship scheme.

“Combining work and study is such a rich way of learning a new skill or trade, so I hope the award really helps more ambitious and hardworking young people get the best possible career boost.”