Hands-on work helps agriculture student Peter continue to grow

Richard McAllister (left) with  Peter Bell.
Richard McAllister (left) with Peter Bell.

A STUDENT looking for work-experience to complete his National Diploma in Agriculture has landed a place with one of Britain’s biggest landowners – on his doorstep.

Peter Bell, a former pupil of the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick, is currently studying for the qualification at Kirkley Hall, with the potential to go on to degree level.

But he also needed to do 300 hours of hands-on work in the industry, so Peter, who lives at Lee Moor near Alnwick, wrote to Richard McAllister, farm manager at Percy Farms, which is part of Northumberland Estates.

And after being given an interview, Peter, is now enjoying learning in the field.

“So far I’ve been working mainly on the arable side which I love, in particular the machinery,” he said. “After Christmas I’m going to get some experience with the livestock which I’m much looking forward to.”

Richard said Northumberland Estates was delighted to help talented students like Peter find a way into agriculture.

“The farming industry is desperately in need of new and enthusiastic talent but without helping and encouraging them, it can be very difficult for youngsters and students to get their first foot on the ladder,” he said. “I was immediately impressed with Peter’s personable approach and professional manner so we decided to help.

“Peter turned up for his interview looking smart and he was well prepared having obviously done his homework. I was pleased to be able to take him on and hopefully give him an insight into some of the different aspects of farming we have at Northumberland Estates.”

Another recent student success story is Andrew Robson, who has been working as a trainee chartered surveyor for Northumberland Estates and has also passed his exams to receive his MRICS qualification.

Andrew, who comes from a local farming family, did a BSc in Agriculture at Newcastle University before taking an MSc in Rural Estate Management at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester while gaining his practical experience with the Estate. Now 25, Andrew is enjoying his new role as a fully-fledged chartered surveyor at Northumberland Estates.