UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited students at Writtle University College today (Thursday, September 21) to discuss food and the farming sector.

The Essex-based college recently saw its students in the UK’s first ever regenerative agriculture course graduate with their degrees.

Today, Sunak joined the university’s engineering apprentices for a lesson on tractor maintenance before talking to students studying agriculture and animal science degrees.

Director of higher education at Writtle University College, Caroline Flanagan, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to WUC.

“We have been teaching land-based courses for 130 years and we’re proud to introduce the next generation to a rewarding, fast-moving industry which draws upon exciting scientific advancements, and which has a huge part to play in delivering environmental sustainability.”

Apprentices in land-based service engineering spoke to Sunak about their workshop, while demonstrating their understanding of agricultural machinery.

Writtle University College said said these students are part of a partnership launched last year by it and and CNH Industrial which seeks to address the skills gap for specialist engineers within the agriculture sector.

Other students showcased a flock of New Zealand Romneys and shared the course work being done on regenerative agriculture at the university.

Regenerative agriculture

Last week, the first people in the UK to undertake an Honours Bachelor’s degree in regenerative agriculture graduated.

The degree was launched by Writtle University College in 2020.

The college said that the regenerative agriculture course responds to the “importance and immediacy” of the challenges facing global agriculture.

Dr Anya Perera of Writtle University College congratulated the graduates and labelled them as the “thought-leaders of the future”.

“They take a progressive approach to farming production systems that encompasses sustainable practice and responds to political, economic and scientific change,” she said.