Prime employer McDonalds invests in future of farming

Prime employer McDonald's invests in future of farming

 September 04, 2019

Working with prime employer McDonald's offers the opportunity to help motivate young people and inspire them to embark upon future careers in the food and agriculture sector. An example of this is the company's farming programs. 

According to McDonald's the average age of a farmer in the United Kingdom is over 50 and just 3 per cent of UK millennials view farming and agriculture as a desirable career. Setting out to change that, McDonald's launched Progressive Young Farmers and Farm Forward - using its scale to change young people's perceptions. 

Young people are graduating from McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmers program, which is designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s farming sector – including business skills, technological know-how and an understanding of consumer demands.

“In order to make the food that we’re famous for, we rely on over 23,000 British and Irish farmers,” explains Alice Willett, a member of McDonald's UK & Ireland Sustainable Sourcing team. “We’re committed to both their futures and the future of the farming industry, which is why we work closely with them, building relationships and investing in research that aims to change farming for the better. Developing skills and knowledge within the agriculture sector is very important for its future, and we want to shape the future leaders of the industry.”

Equipping students with knowledge and practical expertise

Having successfully rolled out the McDonald's Farm Forward program in the UK – which aims to support farmers in developing agricultural skills and knowledge, raise animal welfare standards and make environmental improvements in farming – the company decided its could be doing more to support farmers of the future.

So, Progressive Young Farms was born in 2012. The 52-week program equips students who are between their second and third years at university with the knowledge and practical expertise required to successfully work on a farm and in the wider supply chain.

McDonalds Progressive Young Farmers

For the first four months of the year, the students spend time working on a farm to learn farm business management, as well as what it really takes to make a McDonald’s product. Then, the students spend three months working with a supplier at a processing facility. 

After that, the students attend the Oxford Farming Conference as a fully-paid scholar before spending another four months on the farm. Before their time in the program comes to an end, the students spend three days working as McDonald’s crew members in Central London restaurants and then give presentations about their overall experiences at the McDonald’s UK office. On top of that, the students complete year-long projects that can be used as their dissertations at university.

“The young farmers really enjoy their year,” Alice says. “The program is really well-received in terms of what it delivers for the students.”

Creating young brand ambassadors

Every student who participates in the program comes away with a thorough understanding of the important role McDonald’s plays in British and Irish agriculture. “We’re creating brand advocates,” Alice says. “I think it’s a fantastic program.”

Join a progressive employer supporting young talent

There are multiple schemes at McDonald's which help young people fulfill their career potential. If you like the sound of working with an exciting foodservice company committed to supporting its team members as well as the wider community, McDonald's could be the next step in your career journey. 

Search and apply for opportunities with McDonald's today.


Find out more

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

Join our women's careers community