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BGAJ John Deere Training Award

Sponsored by John Deere, and held at the company's UK headquarters in Nottinghamshire, the course supports one of the Guild’s principal aims – promoting schemes for the provision of suitable entrants into agricultural and horticultural journalism.

Since it began, approaching 40 course members not already employed as journalists have been taken on by national farming and horticultural magazines.

The 10 trainees who take part come from different backgrounds – horticulture, agriculture, PR or agri-media and agricultural engineering – and often have very little or no practical experience of journalism.

They attend lectures and practical exercises formulated by professional training consultant David Mascord, and guest lectures given by Guild members. Short-term placements offered by a number of farming and horticultural publications and PR agencies then provide real-world experience of the job.

Students also compete for the John Deere Trophy and a £250 cash prize for the best article written during the course - plus a £100 prize for the runner-up - and a guest ticket to the Guild's annual Harvest Service & Lunch in London for the prize presentation.

For further details of the training course, contact Steve Mitchell ASM PR

Tel: 01926 818762
Mobile: 07717 213182


  • Winners

Eight prospective young agricultural and horticultural journalists took part in the Guild’s new-entrants training course, gaining a unique insight into the trade and valuable experience that could influence their future careers.

"Thank you again for organising the course, it was very, very good and has already proved very beneficial in job interviews.” – student

Given the horticultural interest of several students, the Guild is indebted to Amateur GardeningThe GardenHorticulture Week and pitchcare for giving students work experience opportunities, as well as The Farmers Club JournalFarmers Guardian, Farmers Weekly Group and the RASE.

The students also competed for the 18th John Deere Training Award by writing a news story on a topic of their choice. Entries were judged by the principal course lecturer David Mascord and former Guild chairman Joe Watson.

Winner Janie Caldbeck (37) received a cheque for £250, a framed certificate and trophy from Amateur Gardening news editor Kris Collins for an article about the new generation of green manure crops being developed for farmers. They may bring benefits for gardeners who grow vegetables organically.

“It was the unanimous choice of the judges,” says Steve. “They thought the article was well executed and a good, original idea for a story.”

Janie Caldbeck gained a distinction in the FDSC Horticulture course she completed this summer at Duchy College, Cornwall. She is now doing a top-up year there for a BSc in Horticulture, specialising in global plant use. She also has an MA in Creative Writing and a BA (Hons) in English Literature, both from Leeds University.

During her work experience placement with Amateur Gardening she wrote two articles that short-listed her for New Garden Media Talent of the Year in the Garden Media Guild’s 2010 awards.

“I have gained so much from the course and the work experience has been invaluable.” – student

John Deere Training Award runner-up Robert Duff (28) recently completed a foundation degree in Agricultural Management at Easton College, Norwich, having completed an NDA. He is working part-time at a dairy farm milking 100 Holstein-Friesian cows. He spent his work experience placement with Farmers Weekly and is looking for full-time work as an agricultural journalist.

The awards were presented during the Garden Media Guild’s awards lunch in London.

“I think it is a great opportunity to offer people, and the course was packed with useful information.” – student


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