Press release January 12, 2024
Applications open for acclaimed John Deere agricultural journalism training course
Budding agricultural journalists and communications professionals are being urged to apply for a place on a unique training course designed to help them take an important first step in their careers.
The British Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ John Deere Training Course has been running for more than 30 years and has an extraordinary track record in helping journalists, public relations (PR) professionals and marketeers enter the industry.
Led by David Mascord, a renowned journalist and lecturer, and supported by a range of experienced guest speakers, successful applicants embark on the two-and-a-half-day course before being placed at a publication or PR agency for work experience.
All participants then submit a piece of work to compete for the overall John Deere Training Award which carries with it a £250 first prize and a complimentary ticket to the presentation ceremony at the BGAJ Harvest Lunch in London on 10 October. The runner-up also attends the event and is awarded £100.
There is no upper age limit for applications, but one of the course’s stated aims is to support young people with a genuine desire to pursue careers in agricultural communications. Practical experience of farming is not required.
Chris Wiltshire, Tactical Marketing Manager at John Deere, said: “We feel it’s really important that new entrants into agricultural journalism and communications are supported and we are proud to have sponsored this course since 1991.
“Farming businesses rely on accurate information and communications professionals play a vital role in delivering that, especially during this period of transition that the sector is going through.”
The 2024 course will be held from 1-3 July with accommodation provided at the Crowne Plaza in Nottingham and the course held at John Deere’s UK & Ireland headquarters nearby at Langar.
The cost of the training, hotel and sustenance is covered by John Deere’s sponsorship, with trainees responsible for their own travel expenses.
Alongside writing exercises, group work and a press conference scenario, participants get the opportunity to drive a John Deere tractor and enjoy a sociable evening meal with their fellow students.
Last year Harper Adams University graduate Marina Schjoett won the overall training award, with Tom Woolman – who now writes on a freelance basis for poultry magazines – claiming the runner-up spot.
BGAJ Chair Johann Tasker said: “I took part in the course many years ago and it was a solid foundation for my career. It has been the spark to ignite the passion of many bright and talented individuals over the past 30 years so I would encourage anyone who wants to work in the farming media or communications to apply.”
Applicants must be studying in or resident in Great Britain and need to apply by Thursday 28 March 2024.