Apprentice on track to achieve dream of being a farmer of future

(left to right) apprentice Ryan Fletcher with farmer Peter Turnbull
(left to right) apprentice Ryan Fletcher with farmer Peter Turnbull
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MANY people have a romantic – but short-lived – dream of working on a farm.

Ryan Fletcher is among a select few who have the tenacity to turn this dream into a reality. Mr Fletcher, 21, from Whitby, has been named as Barbour Apprentice of the Season, as part of a new initiative involving The Prince’s Countryside Fund to recognise the farmers of the future.

Mr Fletcher is one of 10 young farmers on an 18-month apprenticeship programme which is being delivered by the Yorkshire Moors Agricultural Apprenticeship Scheme in partnership with Askham Bryan College and supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The scheme is helping to provide a long-term economic boost for the North York Moors by ensuring the area has a skilled agricultural workforce.

The apprenticeship programme focuses on all aspects of the farming industry, providing apprentices with the opportunity to shadow and learn from established local upland farmers while completing their Level 2 diploma in work-based agriculture and livestock production.

Mr Fletcher has previous experience in horticulture, after spending time as a nurseryman within a local business. Since September 2015, he has been working with Peter Turnbull on his farm in Whitby, splitting his time between college and the farm.

Mr Fletcher said: “The scheme has given me the confidence and experience to work in the farming industry and kick-start my career.”

Dame Margaret Barbour, the chairman of Barbour, said: “The Prince’s Countryside Fund does tremendous work in supporting the farming industry and we are proud to be one of their partners.”