Seven companies have signed up to this year’s Pig Industry Scholarships; a scheme that is facilitated by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

The Pig Industry Scholarships aim to raise the profile of careers in the pig sector and encourage new entrants while enabling individual businesses to hire high-calibre new employees.

This year’s scheme sees six previous sponsors returning for another year and one new company.

The returning businesses – ABN, CEVA, Devenish Nutrition, ForFarmers, Provimi and Rattlerow Farms – are joined by Stephen Tuer Farms, which has registered for the first time.

They will provide a paid placement to second year BSc and first year FdSc students at Harper Adams University who are interested in a career in the pig industry.

AHDB skills development officer, Samantha Bowsher, said: “We are delighted to welcome all seven sponsoring companies – six of which are returning for another year, showing their continued support for bringing new talent into the industry.

“The Pig Industry Scholarship has been gaining momentum in the last two years with the scheme offering very real and ongoing opportunities for students at Harper Adams.”

Scholarship chairman, Nick Major, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Stephen Tuer Farms for the first year. Without our sponsoring companies this scheme wouldn’t be possible. It’s also great to see the number of production-based businesses increasing as this remains a popular area for the students.”

The Pig Industry Scholarship has secured more than 20 scholars since its inception, who are today making a valuable contribution to the industry through their placements.

The scheme offers many scholars a natural progression into their chosen career path – with 50% of inaugural 2014 scholars still working in the industry one year on from graduating.

In October, the seven sponsoring companies will attend the scholarship fair where they will seek to find students to join their business.