15 January 1999

Are you up to the challenge?

WANTED – an adaptable, resourceful, enthusiastic person with plenty of initiative. Must be self-motivated and able to work for long periods without supervision. Effective communication skills and ability to remain calm under pressure a distinct advantage. Good office skills and an interest in agriculture a must…

If this sounds like you, then you could scoop one of three prizes in this years Farm Secretary of the Year competition.

In short, the judges will be seeking a winner who is a highly skilled office administrator – or a person training to become one. Someone who can cope with the demands of the latest legislation. Someone who has a grasp of the technical side of agriculture. Someone who can offer real value to hard-pressed farm businesses.

Still keen? Then all you have to do is answer the first round questions (in bullet point format, on a maximum of two sides of A4 paper), fill in the entry form and return it to the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators, together with your CV.

If the judges like your answer, you, along with the rest of the best of first round entrants, will be asked to submit a further written paper on one or more topical subjects in late March/early April.

Impress the judges, and you will be invited to join fourteen other finalists at the Lasham Woodland Training Centre, which, along with Lloyds TSB, farmers weekly, Farmplan and RASE, is sponsoring the competition.

The day consists of an informal discussion with judges on submitted papers, an administration skills case study, and team tasks devised by Lasham staff to enable finalists to demonstrate their initiative, co-operation and motivation.

Whether you are one of the three lucky winners or not, judging by previous finals everyone will find the day well worthwhile.

Last years winning trio: Susan Knill Jones (centre) from Maldon, Essex, was Farm Secretary of the Year. Melanie Williscroft (left) from Sturry, Kent won the Mary Collins Award (for students under 21), and Emma Brewer, from near Marlborough, Wilts, took first prize in the mature student section. Could you take one of the top places this year?

Jenny Pine, chairman of the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators, and Ian Stockley, chief manager of agriculture at Lloyds TSB, will lead the team of judges.

WHICHCATEGORY?

&#8226 The competition is divided into three sections:

&#8226 The Senior Award: For full and part-time secretaries currently working in the industry. The prize in this section is £500 from Lloyds TSB, a selection of Farmplan computer software and a years subscription to the Royal Agricultural Society of England.

&#8226 The Mary Collins Award:For students under 21 on Feb 28, 1999, with prize money of £125.

&#8226 The Mature Student Award: For students over 21 on Feb 28, 1999, with prize money of £125.

&#8226 All section winners and runners-up will also receive a Black Horse trophy from Lloyds TSB at a special awards ceremony at next Julys Royal Show.

&#8226 Entrants may be self-nominated or put forward by their employers. Any employer who nominates a winner will receive a bottle of champagne from the sponsors.

&#8226 The closing date for entries is Feb 28, 1999.

RULES

1 Entrants must be bona-fide farm secretaries working either full or part-time in Great Britain or students taking an agricultural course here (full or part-time), whether or not they have entered the competition before.

2 The competition will be run in three sections: The senior award for the Farm Secretary of the Year; the Mary Collins Award for the best student under 21 years on the closing date for entries; and the Mature Student Award for the best student over 21 years on the closing date for entries.

3 Complete the entry form in ink, clearly indicating which section you wish to enter, enclosing a copy of your curriculum vitae plus the reply to the first round question in bullet point format on A4 paper. Please state if you have a particular area of specialisation (eg dairy industry, horticulture). Entries to arrive no later than Feb 28, 1999.

&#8226 Details to be included in the curriculum vitae:

&#8226 The names and addresses of two referees (one work reference, one character reference).

&#8226 Senior category – details of current and past work undertaken, and any other relevant information – eg on-going training, career aspirations.

&#8226 Mary Collins category – what sort of work you would like to do after completing your course, details of any vacation/pre-college employment.

&#8226 Mature Student category – as Mary Collins category, but also explain why you decided to retrain, if applicable, as a farm secretary.

4 Successful entrants will be asked to attend the final selections at the Lasham Woodland Training Centre in Hants on June 4, 1999. At the training centre entrants will be given a range of team tasks to complete, an individual, informal discussion with the judges plus a case study on administration skills.

5 The winners will be announced at a reception hosted by Lloyds Bank at the Royal Show on Monday July 5, 1999.

6 All judges will be appointed by the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators, Lloyds TSB and farmers weekly. All referees may be contacted.

7 Standard class return rail fares or mileage expenses will be paid for those attending the final selections.

8 All entries will be acknowledged but no entries will be accepted after the closing date. No responsibility will be accepted for entries delayed or lost in the post or otherwise. Proof of posting will not be accepted as proof of delivery.

9 The decision of the judges will be final and no communication will be entered into.

ROUND 1 QUESTIONS

Is a computerised working environment a help or a hindrance. Does a farm secretary have to be computer literate to be efficient?

How can you develop your office skills to keep pace with the speed of change in information technology?

(Answers in bullet point format on a maximum two sides of A4 paper)

FARM SECRETARY OF THE YEAR 1999

To: The Secretary, Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators, National Agriculture Centre, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warks, CV8 2LZ

Full name (CAPITALS) Mr/Mrs/Ms ………………………………………………………

Address………………………………………………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………………………..Postcode……………….

Date of birth…………………………………….Tel………………………………………..

Category entered:

Senior o Mary Collins o Mature Student o

Tick if interested in further details about IAgSA o

I/we nominate my/our secretary for the 1999 Farm Secretary of the Year

competition:

Name ……………………………………………………………………………………….

Address………………………………………………………………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

ENTRIES TO BE RETURNED BY FEB 28, 1999