Published Wednesday, 28th November 2012 in SRUC news
Aberdeen-based SRUC student Sara Sands recently won the Business Skills award at AgriScot 2012. Not only is she the first woman ever to do so, she is also the only woman to ever make it to a final.
The competition, which is sponsored by Biocell Agri, gives young people from the world of agriculture the opportunity to showcase their practical skills and business knowledge in the hope that a win could improve their career prospects.
Programme Leader in Agriculture, Chris Stockwell, encouraged all the students to take a chance and enter the competition.
He says: “Sara was one who took the initiative and was prepared to take on the challenge. The AgriScot Business Skills competition is a great way for participants to gain experience of presentations and interviews, building their confidence in these pressurised situations.”
Sara, 21, is a fourth year degree level Agriculture student. Originally from Southfield Farm, Abernyte, Perth, she is currently secretary of SRUC Aberdeen’s Agricultural Society. She is also a keen member of the Carse of Gowrie Young Farmers where she enjoys a range of activities such as speech making, stock judging, hockey and tug of war.
At first reluctant to enter the competition she eventually decided to give it a go and after getting through the initial application and the semi-finals Sara found herself competing against fellow finalists Scott Murchie and Stuart Sharp at the final earlier this month.
The day before the final the participants were given an existing product to analyse before giving a presentation on it the following day and answering questions from the three judges; Sandy Ramsay, Group Manager, SAC Consulting, John Kinnaird, AgriScot Director and Ian Hope, a Partner in Hayes McFarlane.
Sara’s critical analysis of Heatime Vocal, a health monitoring collar for dairy cows, was described as “exceptional” by judge Sandy Ramsay. He says: “She also had a comprehensive grasp of farm business management issues and techniques that impressed the judging panel. Sarah handled the interview process exceedingly well, maintaining a high level of confidence and credibility throughout, never flustered and presented her answers in a logical and reasoned manner.”
Sara was awarded her prize by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, and she plans to spend some of her £1,000 prize money on travelling before embarking on a career in agriculture.
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