New international academy at Duchy College

Duchy College, in collaboration with Spearhead International Ltd, have created an innovative and dynamic ‘learning and earning’ partnership called the Spearhead Academy, that offers students an opportunity to gain an agricultural apprenticeship with employment in both the UK and Eastern Europe.

The new bespoke two-year programme of study provides students with a direct progression opportunity into employment through Spearhead International Ltd. Those that sign up will gain high quality training in practical skills, agricultural sciences and management, and will learn about work with the best of modern technology for profitable and sustainable food production in Europe.

Spearhead International Ltd is a European farming group supplying food processors, manufacturers and retailers. The first intake of sixteen students, eight from England and eight from Central/Eastern Europe, will begin their full-time studies at Duchy College in October 2013, where they will complete a Diploma in Agriculture.

In March 2014 the students will then progress onto an Advanced Apprenticeship and travel to Central/Eastern Europe for their first block of farm employment.

Roger Clark, Agriculture Work-based Learning Course Manager, explained: “This new academy is the first of its kind in the UK and great for students who are self-motivated, creative thinkers and effective team workers. We want to attract talented young people into the industry and equip them with the technical and employability skills required to become highly productive employees of Spearhead International Ltd.”

During the programme of study at Duchy College and the employment phase in Europe, students will cover agriculture – farming systems of England and Eastern Europe, crops husbandry for large scale arable cropping and basic livestock skills, machinery skills – full tractor driving licence and maintenance and workshop skills and employability skills – first aid training, employment rights and responsibilities and much more.

Roger added: “Students will also acquire a unique averaging of wages throughout the programme, which ensures ‘earning and learning,’ as well as benefit from specialist training taking place with other Spearhead International Ltd partners.”

To apply for the Spearhead Academy programme, applications, along with CV and covering letter, need to be sent to Karen Davey in the Training Agency at Duchy College Stoke Climsland. Applicants must be 18 by March 2014 to be able to apply for the programme.

Head of Duchy College, Andrew Counsell, said: “This new partnership is the first of its kind in the UK and will bring many benefits to not only the students, but to the College too. The collaboration will give an innovative and dynamic approach to education, training and skills development in both the UK and in Europe, and will also enable us to develop contacts with the largest of the machine manufacturers and bring their expertise to Cornwall and Devon rural communities.”