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Sugar Industry Programme 2018: Latest Blog from Colm McKay

7 March 2018

SIP 2017 / 2018 delegates

As Agriculture Director at British Sugar there is plenty to keep me busy. However, one of the best aspects has to be seeing the genuine passion for the business and the industry among everyone I come across, from colleagues, to growers, to those working in research and development and seed technology. Nowhere is this passion more evident than in the Sugar Industry Programme, a scheme launched by NFU Sugar in 2010 to engage younger people in the industry through a programme of training and development. We work in partnership with NFU Sugar to run the scheme each year.

Since 2010, the scheme has gone from strength to strength. We’ve seen well over a hundred participants take part and learn about the entire industry, including seed production and research, how our factories operate, policy formation and communication and the broader public policy environment.

In addition to sessions at Germains Seed Technology, British Sugar’s Wissington factory and the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), this year’s scheme saw participants promote the British beet sugar industry to MPs at a reception in Parliament, travel to Brussels to learn about the research undertaken by SESVanderHave into sugar beet seeds, and attend the NFU Conference in Birmingham, in addition to undergoing other training in practical skills.

The scheme also provides another great example of the strength of the unique partnership model we have in this industry, with NFU Sugar and British Sugar working closely to ensure that the scheme imparts genuine cross-industry knowledge.

There is also little doubt that the scheme provides benefits for participants and the industry alike. Nick Morris participated in the first ever Sugar Industry Programme, and is now British Sugar’s Agriculture Business Manager for Newark. He has fond memories of the scheme, and said it provided him with invaluable experience which he has taken forward in his career at British Sugar. Stef Hendy, a British Sugar Area Manager for the Bury St Edmunds area, who has participated in this year’s scheme, has spoken about the breadth of the programme and the opportunities it has provided her to see every side of the industry.

The enthusiasm of the participants in this year’s scheme has been fantastic to see. As the scheme draws to a close, I’m left once again feeling immensely positive about the bright future ahead for this industry.

Colm McKay

Agriculture Director

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