As entries come in for the 2011 Pfizer Poultry Trainee of the Year award, it seems more young people are now starting to look to poultry for a future career.
Lorraine McAulay, poultry production lecturer with SAC, who will be teaching the 2010 winner Ben Pollard on his HNC course, says she believes the tide is turning.
“There have recently been encouraging developments in the way the poultry industry is increasing its appeal to young people,” she says. “The large players are now actively seeking to encourage new entrants and the British Poultry Council has also been proactive and supportive.”
Ms McAulay says she would like to see a joint approach taken by SAC and Harper Adams University College to introduce a nationwide suite of poultry qualifications. She is also finding much more interest in poultry among students studying general agriculture, possibly as some come from farms which have diversified into free-range layer or broiler enterprises.
“While poultry may have a negative image for some, I believe we can overcome this. We need to promote the fact that, while you have to do your time in the poultry shed, if you have got the right qualifications, drive and ambition, there are exciting opportunities to progress right to the top of this international industry.”
The HNC course for Ben Pollard is being funded through the £2,000 training grant provided by Pfizer as part of the award scheme.
Entry forms can be downloaded at www.fwi.co.uk/poultrytraining, or obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 020 8652 4921. Entries must be submitted by 29 July.
The three finalists will be interviewed on 14 September and then attend the prestigious presentation at the House of Commons later on 1 November, where the winner will be announced and farming minister Jim Paice will present the award.