Student placement awards 2016
23 May 2016
Students due to graduate this year have been honoured for outstanding performance during their placement years.
At the 2016 placement awards, 23-year-old Hannah Reeve, from Kingsbridge, Devon, won the Agrovista Trophy for the best overall placement performance by a BSc agriculture student.
Agriculture placement manager, Terry Pickthall, said: “Hannah worked for Branston, a leading supplier of potatoes and potato products. This was a very broad role, encompassing their whole product development process, quite literally from field, where she worked in potato variety trials, to fork, where she worked as a development chef and technologist.
“Hannah also got involved in reach-out projects to school children, and she even managed to complete a 100-mile charity bike ride and compete in the inter-departmental volleyball!"
Hannah said: “I loved the variety of work I got to do. Alongside my day-to-day work my placement project focussed on the prepared potatoes side of the business. My project was to look at installing an oven so we could do par-cooking. It has all been installed now and we have got products in store that cook in half the time.”
Her placement mentor Jenny added: “Hannah became a critical part of the team from as soon as she joined. She was integral to our work, supporting me and generally doing a great job at everything!”
Second in the Agrovista awards was Connor Donaldson, 22, from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, who completed his placement with PD Hook, a leading hatchery and poultry meat producer. Terry Pickthall explained: “Exchanging his home in Northern Ireland for Oxfordshire and Yorkshire, Connor was given the chance to work across PD Hook’s varied business. His roles included acting as relief manager on a free range organic broiler breeder farm.
“His placement project looked at the implementation of 126-egg tray within the hatcheries and found that it led to a two per cent increase in hatchability across the business.”
In third was Katie Fern, 22, from Penkridge, Staffordshire, who worked at ME Wannop & Sons farms in Lancashire. And the runner-up was Rosie McGowan, who spent her placement at 2 Sisters Food Group in central Birmingham.
Terry Pickthall said: “Kieran stood out to the award judges thank to not only very high levels of performance across all criteria but also for being able to relate his achievement and plans for the future directly to his experiences on placement.
“The panel was particularly impressed with how our winner was able to learn a tremendous amount in an industry he had little previous experience of.”
Kieran, 22, from Driffield, who plans to stay on at Harper Adams University to top up to an honours degree, said: “I was based mainly in the trials team but also worked with the breeding team and the commercial team, looking at how to sell new seed varieties.
“My project looked at direct drilling and how it affects establishment performance when compared with conventional techniques.
“I am thrilled to have won this award. I didn’t expect to be nominated to begin with so I am really happy!”
The Nat West runner-up was Charlotte Bolton, 21, from Honiton, Devon, who worked in dairy farming for Henry and Carol Bloxham. In third was Laura Rowland, 21, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, who worked for the Jersey Manor Farming Partnership.
A series of Aspire Placement Awards, recognising the achievements of students across various areas, were also presented, in recognition of placement assignment excellence and how well the students reflect on their experiences and use them for career management. The winners were:
- Bethany Williams, BSc (Hons) Countryside and Environmental Management, employed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust
- Ellis Ward, BEng (Hons) Off-Road Vehicle Design, employed by Terex Construction.
- Katie Fern, BSc (Hons) Agriculture, employed by ME Wannop & Sons.
- Adeline Jones, BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management, employed by George F White.
- Thomas Baines-Sizeland, BSc (Hons) Animal Health and Welfare, employed by Anglia Farmers.
- Chloe McKee, FdSc Agriculture, employed by Eurofins.
- Sophie Bull, Sc Honours Agri-food Marketing with Business Studies, employed by Emmett fresh produce