HAVE you got what it takes to be a rural leader, an innovator or entrepreneur? Are you determined and focused about working in the agriculture, forestry or food related industries and professions?

Farming Connect’s recruitment campaign for the 2019 intake of Agri Academy candidates is now opened.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, officially launched Farming Connect’s prestigious personal development programme, Agri Academy 2019, at the Farmers’ Union of Wales annual farmhouse breakfast at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay this morning January the 22nd.

The Agri Academy, now in its seventh year and with 200 alumni, brings together some of the most promising people making their way in the agricultural industry in Wales today, giving them the inspiration, confidence, skills and contacts they need to become future rural leaders, professional business people, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Comprising three distinct elements, the Agri Academy’s Rural Leadership programme, a collaboration with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, aims to develop and nurture a new generation of leaders.

The Business and Innovation programme offers personal and business development to help meet the challenges of farming in the future, while the Junior Academy, run in partnership with Wales YFC, is targeted at youngsters aged 16-19 considering a career in the food and farming industries.

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, who attended a special reception at last year’s Winter Fair, hosted by graduates from all three elements of the programme, said: “The Agri Academy has a fantastic track record of paving the way to business and career success for so many of its alumni.

“These individuals, who are selected because of their drive, focus and commitment to rural affairs in Wales, are certainly repaying our investment in their personal development, which can be attributed to the Agri Academy’s unique combination of mentoring, training, targeted high-level networking and study visits in both Wales and Europe.

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“Many of them are now actively helping drive forward rural affairs in Wales, making sure their voices are heard and opinions known. With Brexit approaching it is more important than ever that we support our farming industry in every way we can.

“Farming Connect will be pivotal in ensuring those in the industry are given every possible tool to be successful in the challenges they face.”

The Agri Academy attracts an increasing number of applications year on year. Drawn from a wide range of agricultural sectors, graduates include farmers, foresters and horticulturalists as well as a number of individuals representing the professions including vets, doctors, surveyors, planners and lawyers working within rural communities.

The application window for Agri Academy 2019 opened on January 22nd and will close on 31 March. Eligibility is open to business partners, immediate family members (spouses, sons and daughters) and employees (on PAYE) of Farming Connect registered businesses.

Farming Connect is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

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