Jointly funded by NFU Sugar and British Sugar, the Sugar Industry Programme includes a wide range of visits covering the entirety of the UK sugar supply chain and beyond and represents a fantastic opportunity for growers to 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 have the opportunity to build their professional skills through a number of training and development sessions, including media training, presentation skills training, and ‘ask the expert’ workshops covering everything from public affairs and advocacy to sugar trading.
Sugar Industry Programme 2023/24
See the full programme below:
How to apply
The application window is now open. Email [email protected] with a copy of your CV and a cover letter outlining your experience in the sector and why you're interested in taking part in the 2023/24 programme.
Applications are open to both NFU and non-NFU members.
Submit your application by 25 September 2023.
|Sugar Industry Programme 2023/24||Dates|
|Opening event – Kings Lynn
Day 1 – Germains factory tour, dinner & overnight stay
Day 2 – Media training
|25-26 October 2023|
|Sugar beet factory tour – Wissington, Norfolk||9 November 2023|
|BBRO day – Norwich||7 December 2023|
|Strube – Söllingen, Germany
Day 1 – Introductions, dinner & overnight stay
Day 2 – Facility tour, dinner & overnight stay
Day 3 –Return travel
|17-19 January 2024|
Westminster visit – London
|5-6 February 2024|
NFU Conference – Birmingham
|20-21 February 2024|
|Closing event – NFU HQ, Stoneleigh
Day 1 – Presentation training, dinner and overnight stay
|4-5 March 2024|
The alumni view: Ed Dale
Ed is Farm Manager at Stetchworth Estate in East Anglia and participated in the programme in 2019/20.
“The SIP is something I would recommend to anyone who has an association with the sugar industry,” says Ed. “Whether you’ve 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 off not only the obvious sectors of the industry such a visit to one of British Sugar’s Factories and a visit to the BBRO but it 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 SIP 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.
“Another benefit of the SIP is it puts you in contact with other people who work within different sectors of the industry. The SIP 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.”
Feedback from our 2021/22 participants
“For me, the highlight of the SIP (Sugar Industry Programme) was meeting people with differing perspectives and experiences that made the SIP 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.”
Wayne Tonge, BBRO
“The SIP has offered a great opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge about everything that happens outside the factory. It gave a great insight into all the work that goes in to provide what we see on the supermarket shelf and makes me proud to be part of the industry.”
Marcus Cox, British Sugar
“The SIP has been a fantastic opportunity to learn from key stakeholders about all aspects of the sugar industry from crop breeding programmes through to production, processing and policy. It was very enjoyable and has provided great contacts from across the industry. I would thoroughly recommend anyone that has the opportunity to go on the course to take it.”
Josh Crick, Brown & Co
“As a grower, the SIP 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.”
Rob Woodhouse, grower
“The SIP has been a unique experience with a chance to meet like minded people and it has given me the opportunity to have access to the wider industry. Following a couple of testing years for sugar beet growing and the huge volatility currently being faced across the whole agricultural sector, it’s been great to see so much enthusiasm for sugar beet growing in the UK and here’s to a profitable future for the crop.”
George Daniel, grower
“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 SIP 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!”
Alice Clews, agronomist