A free training course designed to unearth the next generation of agricultural journalists will return in 2022 following a two-year absence.

The British Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ John Deere Training Award has been running since 1991 and has helped to produce some of the leading editors, correspondents and communications leaders working in the industry today.

After an enforced two-year break, the 2022 course returns this summer from 3-5 July at John Deere’s UK & Ireland headquarters in Langar, Nottinghamshire.

It sees 10 selected applicants given an immersive introduction to the world of journalism and is open to any aspiring communicators, whether or not they are from a farming background.

After the course, attendees complete a work placement with a national farming publication, an agricultural public relations agency, or within the communications department of a business which works with farmers.

Each course member will then enter their best piece of work to be judged with the winner taking home the overall John Deere Training Award and £250 first prize. A runner up also receives £100. Both prize-winners are invited to be guests at the BGAJ’s flagship Harvest Lunch event in London.

“The John Deere Training Award has been completed by many of the top agricultural journalists in the sector and we are really proud to have played a part in shaping their careers,” said Chris Wiltshire, tactical marketing manager at John Deere.

“Agriculture is poised to enter a period of unprecedented change and challenges therefore the need to recruit top-notch journalists to communicate the work our industry undertakes has arguably never been more important.”

Expert training

The course is led by experienced journalism trainer David Mascord, with practical exercises covering the main media sectors. Special guest speakers will address the group during the course, and participants will get the opportunity to put John Deere’s tractors and all-terrain utility vehicles through their paces with a driving experience.

BGAJ Chair Olivia Cooper said: “Attracting talent to agricultural communications is vital, and this training course has been delivering fresh blood into the industry for more than 30 years.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn how journalism works, meet like-minded people and get a real insight into the career opportunities in front of you. I would urge anyone thinking of a career in agricultural journalism to apply for this course.”

How to apply

Applicants, who must be studying and/or resident in Great Britain, have until Friday April 29, 2022 to return a completed application form, which is available here or direct from Ben Pike on johndeere@evecommunications.co.uk.

The course is primarily aimed at graduating students keen to find work within the industry, or journalists with fewer than 12 months’ practical work experience, but all applications will be considered on their merit.

The training course at Langar and course accommodation in Nottingham are free of charge, although successful applicants are expected to cover their own out of pocket expenses.