I’m a year and half into the Commercial Trainee scheme at Bayer and one question that I’ve been asked more than a handful of times is, “Oh, so you’re not from a farming background. Why did you want to work in agriculture?” and so I thought it was about time to put into writing what brought me to where I am today.
It all started whilst studying biology at university where one of my modules was on food security. It was here that I became captivated by the enormity of the challenge facing the world today of feeding 9.2 billion mouths by 2050. As I specialised into plant sciences and genetics, I was fascinated by the potential of science and technology to contribute towards this challenge. Some of the projects I worked on included looking at the possibility of creating nitrogen fixing wheat, converting rice from C3 to C4 photosynthesis and genetically modifying plants to be more stress tolerant.
However, whilst the bigger picture side of this work was potentially ground breaking, the reality of endless hours in the laboratory did not suit me. I wanted to find a way that I could work in an industry where this amazing science and technology was actually being implemented in the ‘real world’. And this is what brought me to Bayer - an innovative research and development company that is ultimately creating solutions for farmers that bring us closer to being able to feed those 9.2 billion mouths. With research not just in agrochemicals but also in biologics, seed, and digital farming (to name a few!), offices in over 150 countries around the world and the opportunity to put some wellies on and get out and about on farms, it wasn’t long before I knew that this was where I wanted to work.
At this point I discovered the Bayer Commercial Trainee Scheme, which is a two year programme where graduates are immersed into the business and wider industry. Without any requirements of that infamous ‘agricultural background’, it offered me the opportunity to develop my transferable skills from biological sciences into a career in agriculture, fulfilling my ambition to work at the sharp end of the industry and to get my boots dirty.