Kirk, 18, has university course paid for thanks to farming bursary
- Credit: ROYAL AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
An Ely teenager who has always dreamed of working in agriculture will have his university course paid for after being awarded a bursary.
Kirk Stamford’s “gritty determination”, along with endorsement from previous employers, helped him win the independent John Innes Foundation bursary which supports young people starting their farm management and crop production careers.
Since completing his A-Levels at Hills Road Sixth Form in Cambridge and with his family's support, the 18-year-old has gone on to study at Royal Agricultural University (RAU).
“My ambition is to leave the RAU with the relevant qualifications to become a farm manager in the future," said Kirk, who is a first-year undergraduate student studying applied farm management.
"The RAU will help immensely due to the course that I am studying, having lecturers that are specialists in the areas that they teach as well as the practical skills that can be learnt at the skills centre."
The funding will pay Kirk’s complete course fees and he will also receive mentoring from farm management company Velcourt.
The bursary is awarded to people that are entering the industry from a non-farming background.
“I am extremely grateful to be awarded the bursary," Kirk added.
"The work opportunities and the contacts with Velcourt that it provides are very useful indeed."
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He added that "with an ageing workforce and many important challenges that will have to be faced, the industry is going to rely on young people to drive it forward.
“Bursaries like this offer an opportunity for young talent to push further forward in the industry,” said Kirk who works on a 12,000-acre arable farm in Cambridgeshire when he is not studying.
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Keith Norman, an independent consultant and trustee of the John Innes Foundation, said: "The foundation continues to support and encourage young entrants from non-farming backgrounds hoping to enter a career in farm management and crop production.
“The award is a competitive process and the bursary repays the academic costs over three years.
"This year's beneficiary is Kirk Stamford whose gritty determination to forge a career in farming was clear to see.
"An excellent reference from his previous employments added to the trustees’ decision.
"We are looking forward to seeing his progression through his academic studies and his career develop as a result of our support."