The Pfizer Poultry Trainee of the Year award goes to Scotland for the first time, to Benjamin Pollard who works for one of the leading poultry breeding companies in East Lothian.
The award, worth more than £2500 as a training grant, was presented by Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at a ceremony at the House of Commons on November 1.
Pollard joined Aviagen from high school in Haddington in 2001 to work in one of the most challenging sectors of the industry — pedigree poultry breeding.
Three years later he became the assistant manager of the firm’s Garleton farm, then after narrowly missing out on a management trainee role he was chosen to spend three months working at Aviagen’s grandparent breeding stock operation in India. Here he used his abilities and knowledge to help train employees whose skills levels were limited. He is now involved in a six-month project analysing the chicken’s growth profile.
Benjamin is studying with the Scottish Agricultural College where after competing training in poultry behaviour and welfare, he is now enrolled on a fast-track S/NVQ level 3 qualification in poultry production. He has also undertaken 11 in-house training programmes at Aviagen from Bobcat and mobile tower to respiratory protection and managing small teams.
Runners-up for the poultry award are Jamie Curston, who has worked for the Vion Food Group for just two years and now manages a small broiler unit at Barcham, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, where his first flock finished third among 29 in the firm’s league table, and Lianne Jackson, who gained three ‘A’ levels before joining Hook2Sisters and has worked on two large broiler units near Scunthorpe before being chosen as one of the company’s first management trainees.