Sugar Industry Programme: UK sugar industry opens its doors

The sugar industry are ready to accept applicants for the latest Sugar Industry Programme taking place through the sugar beet campaign. The course is for those who grow sugar beet and would be interested to learn what happens on the inside of the sugar industry.

Sugar beet harvested pile against blue sky on farming new site

The Sugar Industry Programme is jointly funded by NFU Sugar and British Sugar. If accepted, participants visit a wide range of UK sugar supply chain facilities. Growers can learn more about the industry, build valuable lasting connections and develop their professional skills.

This year’s programme will include a series of one-day and two-day events between October 2023 and March 2024. Participants will also be able to build their professional skills through a number of training and development sessions. These sessions include media training, presentation skills training, and ‘ask the expert’ workshops, covering everything from public affairs and advocacy to sugar trading.

How to apply

The application window is now open. NFU Sugar are accepting a CV and covering letter sent to Those considering application need to outline their experience in the sector and why they want to take part in the 2023/24 programme. You don’t need to be a NFU member to join, simply submit your application before the 25th September 2023 deadline.

The alumni view: Ed Dale

sugar industry programme participant Ed Dale

Farm manager Ed at Stetchworth Estate, East Anglia, participated in the programme in 2019/20.

“The Sugar Industry Programme is something I would recommend to anyone who has an association with the sugar industry. Whether you have grown up alongside the industry or you’re a relative newbie the depth and breadth of the programme offers fresh insights at all levels.

“The programme offers a range of different experiences that cover the obvious sectors of the industry, such a visit to one of British Sugar’s Factories and a visit to the BBRO, but also encompasses some of the less well known work that goes on, such as the work of the NFU Sugar Board.

“A particular highlight of the Sugar Industry Programme was our visit to Belgium. There we visited the SESVanderHave Research Facility and Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, a sugar beet refinery on the outskirts of Tienen. It was interesting to learn about how sugar beet was thought of in Belgium. The challenges and concerns they had and how they were planning to tackle them.

“The Sugar Industry Programme puts you in contact with other people who work within different sectors of the industry. It is open to delegates from across the industry, whether that be growers, agronomists, land agents, British Sugar employees or seed processors; all are welcome to apply and, in turn, that provides a great networking opportunity.”

Experiences of 2021/22 Sugar Industry Programme participants

Wayne Tonge of BBRO says: “For me, the highlight of the Sugar Industry Programme was meeting people with differing perspectives and experiences that made the Sugar Industry Programme so valuable. Interacting with people I don’t usually get to meet broadened my view on this exciting industry in which we work. New friendships formed through interesting, shared experiences, such as the parliament visit. I would definitely recommend the programme.”

Rob Woodhouse, grower, says: “As a grower, the Sugar Industry Programme provided a great opportunity to see the industry beyond the farm gate, from factory to finish, as well as all the great work that goes into breeding and seed production before it reaches the farm gate. It is a great chance to network and I would highly recommend it.”

Alice Clews, agronomist says: “I knew the Sugar Industry Programme was going to be a brilliant opportunity but the total experience was beyond my initial expectations. From a technical perspective, it was fascinating to visit Germain’s and KWS to explore the work they do with beet seed and pelleting.

“However, my Sugar Industry Programme highlights would be visiting Parliament and Westminster closely followed by the tour of Wissington sugar factory. I was taken aback seeing the full process from beet intake and washing through to LimeX production and packing the finished sugar product. I would highly recommend this programme in the future to anyone working with sugar beet!”

For the latest news articles on the sugar beet campaign 2023/24, head to our sugar beet story hub.

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