Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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Jonathan discovers the possibilities at Loughry Campus

VOCATIONAL education is at the heart of all courses offered at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

The practical, hands-on learning that students experience gives them the best preparation for a successful career in the agri-food industry and helps them stay ahead of the competition. Recent graduate Jonathan Wilkinson, Cookstown, is one of the many CAFRE graduates who has certainly benefited by studying at CAFRE.

Jonathan joined CAFRE’s Loughry campus after completing his GCSEs at Cookstown High School. He studied for a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Food Science and Manufacturing Technology. As a National Diploma student, Jonathan got to experience the state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at CAFRE and develop key skills for a career in the agri-food industry.

In addition, Jonathan had the opportunity to complete an industrial placement during his National Diploma programme, which further developed his interest in working in the industry.

Following completion of his Level 3 course, Jonathan decided to continue his studies at CAFRE and enrolled on the Ulster University validated BSc (Hons) Degree in Food Business Management. This Higher Education programme afforded Jonathan the opportunity to further develop his knowledge and skills, and to complete another industrial placement to broaden his experience and enhance his CV.

Speaking about his time at CAFRE as a student, Jonathan said: “Studying at CAFRE’s Loughry campus gave me a full understanding of the wide range of careers available within the agri-food industry. The strong emphasis they placed on completing an industrial placement as part of your studies was really beneficial in helping me apply all the theory I learnt in the classroom to real world scenarios and to securing a job that is both exciting and challenging.”

As a CAFRE graduate, Jonathan is now enjoying his career with the Foyle Food Group, having secured a place on its Graduate Programme as a Production Graduate. Jonathan’s ambition is to become a Production Manager.

Commenting on his time at Loughry and his journey to a career in the agri-food industry, Jonathan added: “The range of roles open to me within the food industry is endless and I know that I have a lot of opportunities ahead of me. The experiences I gained from studying at Loughry have given me an excellent basis career. If you work hard to achieve your goals and prove that you can be a valuable asset to any team, you will open the door to many exciting opportunities.”

The Level 3 Diploma programmes in food are an excellent alternative to A-level study, offering graduates the opportunity to progress to higher education or into employment.

n To find out more about the courses, visit or email



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