Job title: Temporary IACS support assistant.
Previous job titles include: agricultural adviser, agricultural lecturer, livestock specialist, senior agricultural consultant and Dean of Ayr Centre
(Andrew officially retired from SRUC at the end of 2016 after 42 years service, but returns to the organisation each year for two month during the IACS period (15 March to 15 May)
What does your role at SRUC involve?
My current role with SRUC involves coordinating the checking and submission of the 650 IACS forms submitted electronically by the consultants at Ayr Consulting Solutions. These subsidy applications have a very high value to individual rural businesses and errors made in their completion can result in severe financial penalties.
It is important that all submissions are “peer reviewed” to minimise errors which could result in loss of subsidy and possible claims against SRUC. My long experience with SRUC means has resulted in a complete knowledge of the clients and the “IACS process”.
What have you enjoyed most about working at SRUC?
My career at SRUC and its predecessors has been tremendously interesting and enjoyable. The job has been so variable, ranging from been cross examined in court by Donald Finlay QC (expert witness in a murder trial) to taking slurry samples inside a slurry store.
I’ve also fished a drunken student out of a canal in Amsterdam and carried out a due diligence study on a dairy business in UAE. The bread and butter work latterly involved dealing with farmers on a one to one basis and in groups. I was so lucky to work in such beautiful surroundings at Auchincruive - itt was a pleasure to come into work in the mornings.
What have been you r highlights of working at SRUC?
There are so many highlights during my time at SRUC. I have really found it interesting to see former students being successful in their careers, and seeing the progress of young colleagues in their careers with SRUC has brought great satisfaction. It was also very satisfying getting positive feedback from farmers for advice offered over the years.
What’s on your schedule for the next six months?
I’m looking forward to returning to SRUC next March as after 15 May, it’s back to retirement. My retirement work includes supervising 50 Romanian rhubarb pickers on a rhubarb plantation in Paisley, milking cows, taxi driving near London – three grand-children, supporting Ayr United, and growing plants to support my wife’s teaching classes at SRUC Riverside after the loss of the glasshouses at Auchincruive.
The other main hobby I have taken up is Walking Football –at Auchincruive current staff and retired staff meet up to play on the all-weather pitch.
My next venture is to walk the 206 mile Southern Upland Way, which runs from Portpatrick on the south west coast of Scotland to Cockburnspath on the eastern seaboard. I’ll be walking with Gregor Caldwell of SGRPID at Ayr to promote and raise money for the RSABI.
If you’re able to make a donation to help me reach my target of £5,000 it would be gratefully accepted. Find out more and donate online here.
We’re looking for staff to speak to us about their role for future staff profiles – it provides you the chance to share your successes and highlights, while showing other staff the variety of work undertaken within the organisation. Get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be featured, or if you would like to nominate a colleague to be included next month.
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