AGRISCOT COMP A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG FARMERS
Young Farmers, young agri-professionals and students are being encouraged to enter a competition aimed at developing their business skills.
Heather Kerr, a lecturer at SRUC and the new co-ordinator of the AgriScot Business Skills Competition, is keen to promote the competition to students as they return to college and university in the coming days, and also to potential competitors from the world of work.
As in previous years, a £1000 cash prize will be provided to the winner courtesy of competition sponsors, Dairymaster.
“The cash prize from Dairymaster for the winner of this competition should be very attractive in its own right,” Heather Kerr commented, “however, even taking part in the competition is a valuable learning and development experience.”
“I myself am a previous winner of the competition, and I found the whole process extremely useful in terms of my personal development, and of course on my CV.”
“The experience will be further enhanced this year as we have the Clydesdale Bank on board to offer coaching and mentoring to each of the finalists in the run up to the final.”
Heathers’ words are echoed by another previous winner, Andrew McGregor:
“Being involved in the qualifier and then the final for the AgriScot Business Skills competition was a real challenge and was a good introduction to planning projects on farm. As a young person in farming there are not many chances to be the main decision maker when it comes to major investment, so to get the experience doing that within a competition is a great opportunity”
Andrew, who was recently appointed as chairman of the SAYFC Agri Affairs group, is particularly keen to encourage his fellow SAYFC members to enter, backing up the message that the competition is not solely for students.
Initial entry to the competition is in the form of a short essay on a pertinent agricultural topic, or question, set by the co-ordinator. The best entrants will then be invited to take part in regional heats – covering the North and South of Scotland. Heats will be held on farm in late October, with competitors assessed, usually by the host farmer and a guest judge from the wider industry, across a range of key farm business management tasks.
From the regional heats, finalists will then emerge to compete at the final on the day of AgriScot, 20th November. The competition final will involve competitors evaluating and reporting on a designated innovative product or service showcased at the event – “how could this benefit a farming business” being the question posed.
Andrew Denniss, a Relationship Manager with Clydesdale Bank, was an assessor for the competition in 2018 and commented:
‘From my own experience judging the AgriScot Business Skills Competition has filled me with confidence regarding the future of farming in Scotland. All the entrants were highly motivated and forward thinking.”’
“I hope that we see such high calibre candidates for the 2019 competition and I am super keen to help the finalists prepare for their AgriScot challenge – either myself or one of my Clydesdale Bank colleagues look forward to helping and providing muddy boots advice to the next generation.”
Young people, under 26 years of age, who would like to enter the AgriScot Business Skills Award, should email Heather.Kerr@sruc.ac.uk in the first instance.