Applications for the 2023 British Guild of Agricultural Journalists John Deere Training Course have opened, marking the start of this year’s search for the next generation of talented reporters and communications professionals.

The free course has been running since 1991 and has helped to produce some of the leading editors, correspondents, and communications leaders working in the industry today.

The 2023 course will return this summer from 2-4 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 they are from an agricultural background or not.

Work placements

After the course, attendees will 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.

‘Shaping careers’

“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,” says Chris Wiltshire, tactical marketing manager at John Deere.

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

The course is led by experienced journalists, 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.

Chairman of the Guild Johann Tasker adds: “Attracting talent to agricultural communications is vital, and this training course has been delivering fresh recruits into the industry for more than 30 years.

“It’s a brilliant 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.”

Application details

Applicants, who must be studying and/or a resident in Great Britain, have until Friday 31 March 2023 to return a completed application form, which is available here.

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.