A-level students who have just finished their exams may be able to get financial support to study for agricultural degrees at university thanks to NFU Mutual’s Undergraduate Bursary Scheme.
Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is offering financial support to four students starting undergraduate courses in agriculture in autumn 2018. The bursaries will provide £3,000 per student to help with tuition or living costs for the duration of their studies.
NFU Mutual, which provides insurance for 75% of the UK’s farmers, will also support the successful students with work experience, networking and assistance with course projects.
NFU Mutual’s Charlie Yorke, who co-ordinates the award scheme, said: “We’re an insurer with over a century’s experience protecting the countryside. As part of our support for the farming community we want to help encourage students who have the potential to become agriculture’s future leaders.
“In recent years, affordable education for young people and their ability to play a greater role in agricultural businesses have emerged as large concerns for farming families. The award aims to make a positive contribution in this area.
“This is the fourth year NFU Mutual has offered the award, and it’s been great to see how previous award winners have used the bursary, such as to fund extra courses which have increased their skills base and made them more employable.”
Stefan Marks, a BSc Agriculture student at Reading University, originally from Cornwall, is currently in the third year of the scheme, having been awarded NFU Mutual’s Undergraduate Bursary in 2016.
Stefan explained: “Having grown up on the family farm, I’ve always had an interest in agriculture, particularly looking at the way technology and science can ensure sustainable and efficient farming systems.
“The bursary money has enabled me to have some financial security and has allowed me to invest in travel to different enterprises to thereby broaden my understanding of the industry and diverse farming systems. It has also been valuable in ensuring I have textbooks and other resources to aid my studies.
“I am in the process of doing my dissertation focusing on the concept of soil health and Mesofauna populations and, whilst at university, I have explored a particular interest in hydroponics. After I graduate, I intend use this knowledge to work within the agricultural industry.”
Stefan added: “I’d really encourage anyone interested in agriculture to apply for the bursary. It gave me confidence in my studies knowing that someone thought I had potential and my interests were relevant. This really encouraged me to make the most of my course and the opportunities it offers.
“Not only does NFU Mutual offer the financial support, but I’ve had contact from them encouraging me to get involved and providing me with vital industry contacts. It has been so helpful and I’m really grateful for the support.”
William Harvey is also studying for a BSc in Agriculture at Reading University. Going into his second year in September 2018, he was also selected for NFU Mutual’s Undergraduate Bursary Scheme.
“I come from a dairy farm near Newton Abbot in Devon and so have always had a passion for the industry. I’m studying a broad spectrum of agriculture and currently deciding what I want to specialise in for my final year,” William explained.
“The scheme has been a huge help for me and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking to go into the industry. The grant has allowed me to focus on my studies without worrying about financial issues and really made sure I make the most of my degree.”
The closing date for applications is 31 October 2018. For more information visit: www.nfumutual.co.uk/undergrad.