A DEDICATED teenager, who gave up his Saturday mornings for two years to carry out unpaid work, is being held up as a shining light of the agricultural industry.

Representatives of the Community Council for Somerset, working on a new project titled ‘Somerset’s Dairy Career Project’ funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food scheme, interviewed 16-year-old Alex Hutchings last month.

A video of the interview, recorded at the Hawkins Agri store in Bridgwater which will be passed onto schools and colleges throughout the region.

Alex, who left Huish Episcopi Academy, near Langport, in July, was taken on as an apprentice at Hawkins Agri, in Bridgwater, after carrying out two years of unpaid work there to build up his experience.

His father, Julian, told the Mercury: “The Community Council for Somerset has picked him out as a role model for other people of his age.

“He will be featured in a video which will be taken to schools and colleges, and be available online, to show what's available in the dairy industry.

"It's all testament to his endeavour and drive and myself and Alex's mother, Carrie, are both very proud of him.

“Lots of people in his position wouldn't consider doing two years of unpaid work as a way into employment.

“He got up at 6.30am every Saturday and went to sweep up, make tea and clean machinery.”

During his apprenticeship, Alex's tasks will include working with combines, bailers and other agricultural machinery.

At the end, he will be a qualified New Holland agricultural technician. Mr Hutchings thanked Hawkins Agri for taking on his son.

He said: “Nobody takes on apprentices these days - it was a bit of a leap of faith as they were concerned but it's been rewarded.”