The first winner of a new competition sponsored by the Bishop of Norwich to select a young employee of the year is 17-year-old Jamie Hipperson, an apprentice at Bentley Farming Ltd, an arable farm based in Norfolk.
The Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich and the President of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, presented Jamie with his award and £1,000 cash prize at the Royal Norfolk Show on Thursday 30 June 2022.
Jamie is studying for a Crop Technician Level 3 Apprenticeship at Easton College. Within his application Jamie demonstrated a good understanding of the environmental challenges that farming faces and took the time to outline his own ideas on how farming could be made more sustainable. This was also mirrored by his employer’s reference, which noted he has a “mature attitude to farming and is always coming up with ideas on how to progress the farming business in practical terms”.
The Food & Farming Discovery Trust (FFDT) which is the education vehicle of the RNAA, undertook the shortlisting and judging of the competition. The judging panel’s decision was unanimous, and all were impressed by Jamie’s attitude to sustainability and the environment.
Jamie said: “I’m thrilled to have won the Bishop of Norwich’s Young Employee of the Year. This will give me even more opportunities to expand on my current knowledge and progress at work.”
Bishop Graham said: “It was a joy to watch Jamie’s submission video. He is a worthy first winner of this award. It gives me hope in the future of environmentally-conscious farming that seeks to enhance biodiversity. I am passionate about the care of God’s creation, and I’m delighted that Jamie appreciates the natural world as much as I have in my life.”
Jamie’s employer, Andrew Bentley of Bentley Farming Ltd. said: “We are very proud of Jamie for winning this award. It is very important to help encourage the next generation to help maintain the land for the future of farming, and I am delighted Jamie has been a part of this new award.”
Mark Nicholas, Managing Director of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), said: “We are thrilled that Jamie is the first recipient of this generous award sponsored by the Bishop of Norwich. Jamie is a shining example of the young generation of agriculturalists in Norfolk who champion the need for sustainable food production.”
The competition, in partnership with the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, was open to employees and apprentices, under the age of 21, who work for a Norfolk-based employer. Applicants needed to work within the land-based sector with their employment or apprenticeship focusing on one or more of the following areas: land management, conservation, countryside management, ecology, climate change management, forestry management and horticulture.
This prestigious award is an accolade which the winner can use to enhance their cv and help with future employment prospects. It will also raise the profile of land-based environment employment opportunities and apprenticeship schemes within Norfolk. This will now be an annual competition.