Learner awards revealed

Y OUNG Ceredigion farmer Marged Jones won the Farming Connect Award at Lantra’s 2014 land-based learner of the year awards presented at the Winter Fair. Marged was brought up milking cows and tending sheep and enjoys the variety, challenges and rewards of working in farming. TWinning this award will demonstrate to potential employers my initiative and commitment to improving my skills in the agricultural industry,T she said. TThe award also illustrates my determination to continually improve my knowledge and ability and hopefully it will allow me to access employment within the agricultural industry which will enable me to gain further education and expertise.T Marged also credits her experience gained through the Y FC, Farming Connect and Lantra. TI have been very fortunate to have met some very inspiring individuals who have influenced me greatly. TThe continual training and opportunities available make the industry very interesting and exciting. Therebs no limit to the knowledge you can acquire and the pleasure gained from putting the knowledge and skill into practice. TThe industry offers well paid employment for well trained and motivated people. The courses run through Lantra contribute greatly to employability.T Lantra Wales national director Kevin Thomas said: TMarged’s commitment to continual development and attention to detail was clear for all to see.T Linda Hafwen Phillips from Gwynedd was a runner-up in the Farming Connect category. Although she did not attend agricultural collage, she grew up in the farming industry helping her uncle on his sheep and cattle farm from a very young age. Linda, who was nominated for the award by Simply the Best training, is now a successful sheep farmer specialising in pedigree sheep breeding. Along with her husband, Linda owns 200 sheep, including welsh mountain sheep, cross Texels and a flock of pure pedigree Texels. She said: TDoing courses through Lantra and Farming Connect is a good way to gain skills and progress in the land-based sector. To stay ahead in farming you need to know about new products, new rules and different diseases, and it’s very beneficial and crucial to know about them.T Also nominated by Simply the Best training was another runnerup, FUW farm diversification committee member Eira Edwards, a farmer from Bridgend. Having grown up on a farm, Eira has amassed a wealth of experience and skills over the years. She ran educational school visits to farms and developed a website to promote farm life and encourage the public back to the countryside after the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak. Eira also sits on various boards including the RDP partnership boards for creative rural communities. She is a committee member of Glynogwr Agricultural Show, Llantrisant Y FC, Bridgend Environmental Partnership & Biodiversity Group and a founder member of Bridgend Tourism Association. LEARNERS OF T HE YEAR: Award winners including (second from right) FUW member Eira Edwards with (in the foreground) Lantra Wales national director K evin T homas and deputy farming and food minister Rebecca Evans. TLand-based careers offer an opportunity to develop yourself,T she said. TMy plans for the future are to support my husband and son on our farm by making the business as efficient as possible and developing diversification enterprises to ensure sustainability and succession of the farm.T The Farming Connect Award is open to all registered Farming Connect clients who have undergone training through the Skills Development Programme and received funding for the course. Candidates are judged on their ability to deal with challenges, their use of initiative, their level of skill and attitude to learning.

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