economic: building rural economies

Sustainability 12

how we help to build sustainable agricultural and rural economies

Sustainability 13

Economic Case Study

27 January 2017

Recruiting the next generation

Recruiting the next generation


Encouraging young people to consider a career in agriculture or food production is a key focus of our businesses. We typically make sugar in rural areas very close to where sugar beet or sugar cane is grown and it is crucial to continue to attract people with the right skills to grow and make sugar.

What we did

AB Sugar recognises that its success is built on the effectiveness of its workforce and has continued to invest in recruiting the next generation and continually developing its people.

British Sugar employs apprentices, graduates and experienced professionals for roles across the business and throughout the supply chain, across a range of roles and professions.

British Sugar has been a member of WISE (a campaign to promote women in science, technology and engineering) for three years and was proud to have been a member of the operations team on the Young Women’s board. WISE inspires girls and women to study and build careers using science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and aims to encourage 1 million more women into the UK STEM workforce. It achieves this by working with businesses and boosting the talent pool from classroom to boardroom.

In Spain, Azucarera runs various programmes to attract, develop and retain talent. The company is firmly committed to helping young people into employment and arranges work experience programmes at its workplaces so that students can combine it with their studies.

Azucarera also has agreements with education centres, has developed an apprentice and graduate programme and has introduced dual training as a channel for access to the Azucarera apprentice programme. Azucarera has an ongoing commitment to combating youth unemployment. In 2015, it signed a specific agreement with the Public Employment Service of Castilla y León to provide work experience at its Benavente Packaging Centre.

AB Sugar China recognises the value of new talent into the organisation. It has partnered with a university in the region to promote the development of sugar-manufacturing technology and provides internships to students interested in a career in the sector.  

Illovo has built its own state of the art sugar academy and delivers a programme which offers full bursaries to students. Upon the successful completion of studies, students are invited to apply to join Illovo’s management trainee programme. 


Over the past ten years British Sugar has recruited and trained over 100 graduates and over 90 apprentices. The four year apprenticeship programme includes a recognised professional qualification and a 2016 National Survey by ranked British Sugar’s Apprenticeship Scheme at Number 15.

Last year Illovo offered full bursaries to 45 students to allow them to further their education.

At Azucarera, 58 students participated in their development programme with education centres, 7 students participated in the apprentice programme and 8 students participated in the graduate programme.

AB Sugar China is recruiting university graduates regularly each year. Graduates have been offered structured and systematic training and development as well as career development opportunities.

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AB Sugar China Azucarera British Sugar Germains Seed Technology Illovo Sugar Group Vivergo Fuelds