Competition was stiff for this year’s Suffolk Agricultural Apprentice of the Year Competition but after a robust interview process two clear winners emerged, selected because they had both gone the extra mile to use the new skills they are learning to enhance their employers businesses.
Daniel Goodwin is the 2018 winner.
Dan works for Mike and Lorraine Morley at Bishops Farm, Bradfield St Clare. He began by doing work experience straight after leaving school in 2014 and has progressed up through the Level 2 full time Agricultural Diploma, to the Level 2 Apprenticeship and now the Level 3 Apprenticeship all at Easton&Otley.
The judges felt he stood out above the rest of the entrants as the obvious winner, coming across as being very focused, determined and passionate about his farming career, making him an excellent example of the kind of new blood our industry needs. The judges were impressed with the way Dan has put in additional work studying crop trials and variety performance and how it this is interlinked with soil analysis.
His employers said, ‘Dan has a good understanding of mechanics and new technology. He is always willing to learn how and why machines work. He has a good grasp of workshop procedures including being a very competent welder. His practical abilities and application are brilliant, he is an all-round reliable employee, always happy in his work and willing to tackle any job on the farm, showing great pride in all he does.’
Megan Keeble who is working at D E Keeble Ltd, Blaxhall Woodbridge, whilst studying for her Level 3 Agricultural Apprenticeship at Easton&Otley is the runner up.
The Judges were impressed by her grasp of business finance, her practical skills and her passion for machinery both its fabrication and design. She is constantly looking for ways to improve operational efficiency. It was clear that she has put a lot of thought into analysing how the business she works for, runs and spotting ideas for the future.
Stephen Cobbald, who judged the entrants on behalf of the Suffolk Agricultural Association said, ‘Each entrant submits a short video of themselves made on their mobile phones to illustrate what they do at work. It was encouraging to interview a group of such bright and capable young people who have chosen to work in agriculture; with students like this, our future is in safe hands.’
Tim Styles, from Fram Farmers Ltd who sponsor the competition said, ‘There is a shortage of people choosing agriculture as a career, despite the excellent wages on offer. Sadly, too many schools do not understand agriculture, under estimating the technical competences needed. Fram Farmers are pleased to sponsor this award as it helps to promote the sort of high calibre talent our members need.’
This year the Chadacre Trust have funded the creation of a video showing the two winners at work which will be used in schools , at careers events and on social media to promote the variety of careers in farming.
The winner receives a cheque for £100 along with the Suffolk Agricultural Association’s trophy and a free short training course such as chain saw operator. The runner up receives a cheque for £50 along with a trophy.
The prizes will be presented on the first day of the show May 30thin the grand ring by the show president Baroness Byford as part of the grand parade at 4pm.
They will also be represented at the Suffolk Agricultural Society BALE Awards Dinner in October.