#BreakingBarriers in agriculture: Hartpury University student joins prestigious programme


A Hartpury University student has successfully applied to join the #breakingbarriers Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) Scholarship scheme 2023, run in partnership with McDonalds UK and Ireland.

Wonga Matubatuba, a student on Hartpury’s BSc (Hons) Agriculture with integrated placement year programme, will join four individuals with representation from Harper Adams University and Royal Agricultural University students.

The OFC Breaking Barriers Scholarship aims to give young people the opportunity for peer-to-peer networking and to share views and ideas, while gaining access to key skills development training. The programme is open to people aged under 30 years old who identify as Black or a Person of Colour (BPOC) and have an interest in the food, farming and agricultural sector. It’s part of an industry-wide focus on diversity, led by Navaratnam Partheeban - a prominent vet, co-founder of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society, and Director of the Oxford Farming Conference.

Scholars will attend a 2-day field trip to meet inspirational individuals in the sector and will also benefit from expert guidance and support from leading industry figures.

The scholarship comes at a time when Wonga is looking to gain more experience in the agriculture industry that he can take home to his family farm in the future. He recently spent time working at Newlyns Farm in Hampshire, a mixed enterprise where he gained real world experience of the agriculture supply chain and networked with industry experts.

Reacting to news of the scholarship, Wonga said: “The Breaking Barriers Scholarship will give me a chance to network and engage in conversation with industry leaders in a space that is renowned for hosting and teaching leading academics and thought leaders in our industry.”

Linda Greening, Head of Inclusivity at Hartpury University, said: “Hartpury is proud of the achievement of all its students and Wonga’s successful application to the scholarship programme is very exciting. We look forward to celebrating Wonga’s successes in agriculture on the scholarship as well as on his programme of study.”

Harriet Wilson, Agriculture & Sustainable Sourcing Manager at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “There are some big changes coming and the British farming and food industry is having to think differently about how it operates in future. Unfortunately, for many young people today, a career in farming is often misunderstood. We want to challenge those misperceptions and we are keen to help the industry to diversify its talent pool.

“That’s why we’re proud to work with the Oxford Farming Conference to provide opportunities for young people from non-agri and diverse backgrounds to attend the 2023 Conference. We hope the Scholarship continues to inspire candidates from any background to consider a future career in the industry.”

Students at Hartpury (a university that ranks 1st in the South West and 6th in the UK for Teaching Quality, in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023) are actively encouraged to engage with industry programmes and initiatives, as well as contributing to research and topical issues. This raises overall student employability, reflected in the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2022 where 97% of former Hartpury students were in employment, further study or meaningful activity.

In the National Student Survey 2022, Hartpury’s BSc (Hons) Agriculture/Applied Agriculture students reported an outstanding 100% satisfaction rate.