The CLAAS Group has announced it had chosen Kildare man David Thornton as its next agricultural engineering scholar from Harper Adams University.

David, 20, from Maganey in Kildare is currently in the second year of an honours degree in agricultural engineering.

According to ClAAS, as this year’s winner of the coveted CLAAS scholarship David, who grew up on the family farm, will have his fees for the second and fourth years of his studies covered and in year three he will complete a one-year placement with CLAAS spending time in England and Germany.

According to the company, the selection process took into consideration not only David’s academic background, but also his character, skills and enthusiasm for agricultural engineering.

Responding to the announcement David said: “I’m absolutely thrilled – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have worked with CLAAS machinery over the years and have a genuine interest in the machinery they produce, especially combine harvesters, coming from an arable farm.

“I am excited about spending a year working for CLAAS. I expect to be working for them in the UK next summer, then going out to Germany in October. It’s going to be great to see how such a prestigious company operates and living abroad for the best part of the year will be some experience – although I am already living abroad, having come from Ireland to study in England.”

Students Thomas Sutton and Michael Brown were close runners-up for the award, after the candidates gave presentations to and were interviewed by a judging pane.

Launched in 2005 at the personal instigation of Helmut Claas, the CLAAS Scholarship is open to one second year student per year who is studying on either the MEng/BEng (Hons) or BSc (Hons) Agricultural Engineering, or the BSc (Hons) Agricultural Engineering Marketing and Management courses at Harper Adams.