As thousands of students wake up to receive their A Level results, a local Clitheroe farmer has invited young people interested in agriculture to get some hands-on experience and potentially try a different career path.
Ben Hartley's family have farmed in Bashall Eaves for over half a century, with Ben - a third-generation dairy farmer - helping meet the demand of a £10bn UK-wide industry by producing 6,000 litres of milk every single day for Arla Foods UK.
Keen to promote the benefits of exploring alternative educational career paths, Ben has encouraged those intrigued by the agricultural sector, which is worth £108bn to the UK economy and employs almost 4m people, to head on over to the 325-acre Mason House Farm and get a taste of what the job is like.
"Farming is a unique career choice, every day is different and the job is extremely rewarding," said Ben, who lives in Chatburn with his wife, Heather. "If any aspiring farmers in Clitheroe or nearby would like a tour of my farm to help with their decision to enrol on an agricultural course, I’d be delighted to have a hand in expanding an industry I’m very passionate about.
"Having worked on a farm for over 10 years alongside my father, I’ve seen the industry change with the times, with new innovative technology and methods making agriculture an exciting field to be in," he added.
An increasingly popular choice for young adults, a career in farming offers rich job diversity, healthy salaries, and the chance to be on the forefront of technological advances in the industry - Ben himself has a qualification in cow hoof-trimming and uses everything from high-tech Dutch milking booths, udder massagers, and bovine fitbits on the farm.
And as someone who left the farm to do a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Leeds University only to miss the work, Ben returned to become a member of the Arla farmer co-operative and one of 2,500 farmers in the UK that own a share of the business.
"It’s a common misconception that you have to be born into a farming family – in fact anyone can get involved, regardless of their background," Ben said. "Studying a course in agriculture provides you with all of the skills you need, and as long as you are hard-working and passionate you will succeed."