Opportunity returns for young sheep farmers to join successful development programme

25th November 2021

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is excited to be starting its search for the next group of Next Generation Ambassadors to join its development programme, becoming part of a scheme supporting the future of the UK sheep sector through young people and signalling the start of a lifelong journey with NSA.

The NSA Next Generation Ambassador programme, now in its seventh year, offers young sheep farmers aged 18-34 the opportunity to take part in a series of technical and personal development sessions aimed to further their experience and understanding of the UK sheep industry.

As well as providing the chance to visit varied sheep farming systems and parts of the sheep farming supply chain the programme delivers an abundance of networking opportunities, from the chance to be part of a group of likeminded young sheep farmers to meeting with industry experts and leaders, the scheme can open doors to many new and exciting opportunities.

Every other year the scheme invites applications from innovative and enthusiastic young shepherds from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to apply for their chance to become one of 12 ambassadors.

NSA Communications Officer is coordinating the programme and says: “The online application is a simple process. Interested parties will have to share some information about their own shepherding experience and their hopes for their futures in the UK sheep industry. As in previous years, we hope to attract a varied group of young sheep farmers; Whether you are a first-generation farmer, someone who hopes to one take on their family farm or a contract shepherd or shepherdess just starting out in your career, we really are excited to see what you can offer as an NSA Next Generation ambassador, and we are proud of the opportunity that we can provide you and other keen young sheep farmers.”

Thinking of applying? Here’s what some previous year’s Ambassadors have to say about the programme:
Jacob Anthony, sheep farmer from South Wales says: “In 2016 I was fortunate enough to be selected to be part of the NSA Next Generation programme. I found my time on the programme absolutely invaluable. I learnt an awful lot that I was able to implement back at home on our family farm in South Wales. Not only did I learn a lot I met l made some lifelong friends and like-minded individuals from the length and breadth of the UK. Another thing I truly valued about my time on the Ambassador project was the fact I learnt what NSA does for us as sheep farmers by engaging with decision-makers and the public on our behalf. If you are thinking about applying to be an Next Generation Ambassador I can’t recommend it enough, I gained so much by being a part of it.”

Kirree Kermode, sheep farmer from the Isle of Man and Ambassador in 2018 adds: “I would highly recommend the Next Generation ambassador programme for any young person passionate about the industry. I thought I knew quite a lot about sheep farming but was hugely surprised how much I learned, not only from the host of brilliant delivery sessions from business professionals, vets, advisors and farmers but also from the other 11 members of my group who I now consider great friends.”

Applications opened online earlier this month on the NSA Next Generation website www.nsanextgeneration.org.uk and will close on Friday 10th December. Applications will then be shortlisted by NSA regional representatives before online interviews take place in early January 2022. The programme will commence in February and will require successful applicants to commit to spending approximately 12 nights away from home during the year.