A team from the British Poultry Council and key figures from a range of UK and Irish poultry companies have welcomed the latest group of BPC scholars at Harper Adams University.
Representatives of Aviagen, Bernard Matthews, Cargill Meats Europe, Cranberry Foods, Faccenda, Gressingham, Moy Park and PD Hook visited Harper Adams for the annual scholarships presentation event, at which 14 new BPC scholarships were presented to students on agriculture, agri-business and animal science degree programmes.
The awards, which aim to draw new entrants into the poultry sector, benefit the students to the tune of £3,500 per year for up to two academic years, and provide a guaranteed paid placement with the sponsoring company for the sandwich year that all Harper Adams students complete as part of their courses.
David Long, 20 from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, said: "The BPC scholarship will give me a great advantage in my studies, allowing me to gain a high-level of experience to take into a future job within the industry. I would like to thank the BPC scholarship awards and Bernard Matthews for granting me a placement year during which I will have insight into the day to day operations of the Agricultural Division, working throughout the production line of turkeys."
Catherine Gawn, 20, from Ballymena, Co Antrim, said: "I am very thankful to be receiving a BPC scholarship and very much look forward to my year working for Aviagen - a prestigious company." Catherine's placement will take her to pedigree and grandparent farms in Scotland, a hatchery in England and on an extended overseas trip to see similar operations in a different climate.
Jennifer Costello, 20, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire adds: "This scholarship will allow me the unique opportunity to learn first-hand about the entire process of speciality poultry production. I would like to thank Gressingham Foods for granting me the invaluable experience of working within an expanding and innovative family-owned company."
Further new scholars included Connor Donaldson, 20 from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, who will join the team at PD Hook. Edward Calcott, 20, from Tamworth, Staffordshire is Cranberry Foods-bound and Emma Fletcher, 20, from Hinckley, Leicestershire is looking forward to a year with Moy Park.
There was also an opportunity to hear from existing scholars about how the awards had benefited them. Charlotte Wright, 23, from Brough, East Yorkshire, said: "I feel extremely proud and honoured to be a BPC scholar with PD Hook. It has given me confidence and allowed me to develop my knowledge and skills within the poultry industry. During my placement year, I experienced a whole new level of farming as I had no knowledge of chicken production beforehand. I was part of a large hard-working team and involved in all aspects of poultry production."
Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors from throughout the UK and Ireland, Harper Adams University Development Trust has this year awarded scholarships worth £280,000 to 98 students.