McDonald’s has kickstarted its search for tomorrow’s farming and food industry leaders with the launch of its Progressive Young Farmer (PYF) programme.
The one-year placement is now open for applications from full-time undergraduates studying at college or university from across the island of Ireland who are passionate about a career in food, farming or the supply chain.
Successful applicants will get the opportunity to spend 12 months working in all aspects of the McDonald’s supply chain, gaining practical experience from farm to front counter.
They will work with different suppliers, farmers and stakeholders from around the UK and Ireland.
Mentored by a host farmer and supplier, each participant can develop in-depth experience in sectors such as beef, pork, chicken, potatoes, dairy or eggs, as well as the business skills they need to succeed.
Suppliers taking part in the programme include island of Ireland names such as Moy Park, Kerry and Dawn Meats as well as GB companies such as Cranswick, McCain, Arla, OSI and Dawn Meats.
More than 60 participants have already completed the PYF programme and are now working throughout the agri-food sector.
Hetty Gittus, agriculture and sustainable sourcing manager, McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: “The PYF programme offers an unparalleled breadth of experience for any students passionate about the farming, food and supply chain sector.
“Exposure not just to one, but to every stage of the McDonald’s supply chain brings a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities of operating a farm-to-fork business such as ours and primes participants for a career in the sector.
“I would urge any undergraduates who have a passion for the sector to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Sophie Ascoft, a student of the PYF programme in 2022-2023 with Kerry Group, said: “The PYF programme has been an invaluable experience. I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone on so many occasions and grown on both a professional and personal level.
“Working with McDonald’s and their various suppliers has given me a deeper appreciation for the work that goes into producing our food in a productive and sustainable way. I could not recommend this placement enough.”
The structure of the PYF programme is flexible to support individual personal development goals and to enable students to maximise their placement experience, according to the company.
Young farmers will be expected to actively work on farm, spend time in processing and undertake specific projects to gain a better understanding of technical efficiency within the supply chain.
The programme focuses on technical efficiency and the future of the farming sector, including sustainability, regenerative agriculture, and efficient production, ensuring both commercial and environmental areas are addressed.