Employees on pig and poultry farms in North Lincolnshire — Georgina Cherrill and Andrew Hall — are the 2009 winners of the Pfizer Trainee of the Year Awards.
The awards, each worth more than £2,500, were presented by Jim Fitzpatrick, Minister for Farming and the Environment. at a ceremony at the House of Commons on 5 November.
The awards are now in their third year, and recognise the importance of training in helping UK producers to meet higher animal welfare and food safety standards in an increasingly competitive market.
Andrew Hall, who was chosen as winner of the poultry award, began working for PD Hook in their Gunness hatchery and was deployed on to a poultry breeding farm after a fire closed the hatchery for 9 months. He preferred working on a farm — with previous experience on a pig unit — and after a period at the firm’s Hatfield broiler breeder unit moved to another large 40,000-bird breeder unit at Susworth supplying eggs for the Gunness hatchery.
He completed an NVQ level 2 in livestock production in March and is seeking to further his qualifications in rearing breeders and broilers — potentially becoming one of the few experienced in all sectors of hatchery and poultry production.
PD Hook is well aware of the need to present a better image for the career prospects in poultry. Area breeder manager Philip Rastall is involved in promoting its new poultry apprenticeships scheme for 16-year-olds who spend the first year on breeder rearing, production and broiler farms and in the hatchery, then in the next year choose the sector in which they’d like to work. “The scheme opens their eyes to the opportunities in the poultry industry today and we’re working with schools to make them more aware of what the career offers,” says Rastall.
The award comprises a £2,000 training grant payable to the employer and a £500 cash prize for their winning trainee, together with engraved plaques.
Runners-up for the poultry award are Tom Neal who works on a Cobb Europe breeding farm at Wretton, near Stoke Ferry, Norfolk, producing eggs for hatching grandparent stock for export across Europe and Africa, and Anthony Plaskitt of Billinghay Dales who turned to poultry after eight years in the Army and manages a broiler unit at Billinghay, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire for Moy Park.