THE winners of the Golden Gavel and LAA Gavel awards were recently announced during the Annual Graduation Ceremony hosted by Harper Adams University and attended by the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) and the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers (IAAS). Hywel Evans of Morgan Evans & Co Ltd, on the Isle of Anglesey, was awarded the LAA Gavel for the top graduating student, while Harvey Pile of Stags, in Devon, collected the ‘Golden Gavel’ Dick Harrison Trust award as the top first year student, for the Livestock Market Operations and Management course run by Harper Adams University. Hywel was joined by six other graduating students who also received their fellowships for the LAA or IAAS respectively during the ceremony, the culmination of four years study while in full‐time employment as trainee auctioneers. The course aims to provide the bedrock of knowledge and skills needed by anybody aspiring to be competent in livestock auction practice. Operating from Gaerwen Auction Centre for Morgan Evans & Co Ltd, Hywel has followed a passion for the livestock auction marketing system, developed since childhood.
Hywel’s uncles still farm cattle and sheep at the Caernarfonshire farm that his father was brought up on, and regular visits to the local auction mart were a feature as he grew up. Hywel said: “In the process of applying for roles in the livestock auction industry, after graduating from Cardiff University with a business degree, I became aware of the Harper Adams course. “When I was offered the role at Morgan Evans I suggested undertaking the course to my employers, and they saw the mutual benefit for both the company and my own development. “The course and content is really good, but equally important are the contacts you make across the industry and country. You can share work‐based experiences and develop relationships that will hopefully serve you well into the future. “Equally, this is something I take into my role at Morgan Evans. I am not from Anglesey, and initially knew very few of the farmers in our large catchment area. I have worked hard to develop bonds with our customers, both vendors and buyers alike.” Harvey Pile has completed the first year of the course, combining his study with his work at Stags at the firm’s two centres at South Molton Market and Honiton Collection Centre in Devon. Having grown up on the family farm near Honiton, East Devon, Harvey joined Stags as a 17‐year‐old and was offered the opportunity to work in the livestock market and on‐site sales department, quickly gaining a passion for auctioneering. Harvey said: “It’s a privilege and a big responsibility to be in a position whereby customers rely on your advice and I always try to act in a client’s best interests. “If you know you have tried your hardest to achieve the best price possible for a client, then you can have no regrets. This includes the time spent leading up to and following the auction itself.” Reflecting on the first year of his course, Harvey adds, “The course offers the chance to meet other young professionals in the industry and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first year. I’ve found it very beneficial to me in understanding the influences on how a livestock market business works, survives and thrives and I hope during my career I will be able to implement a lot of the knowledge I am gaining.” Executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association Chris Dodds said: “On behalf of the LAA, I would like to congratulate Hywel and Harvey, as well as the other graduating students who are now embarking on an exciting career in the livestock auction industry. “It is crucial for the success of the industry that we encourage and nurture the next generation of livestock auctioneers, and the dedication and commitment demonstrated by this year’s graduates bodes well for the future. Likewise, in his first year, Harvey is already showing many qualities that will no doubt see him achieve his ambitions.” The Livestock Market Operations and Management course is aimed at aspiring auctioneers, and is open to students working in the industry wishing to develop their career. The LAA encourages its member firms to consider enrolling their aspiring young auctioneers on what is proving to be a fruitful and highly beneficial qualification.