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SRUC Student’s Business Skills Shone Through at Agriscot

Published Thursday, 28th November 2013 in Study at SRUC news

Joseph Williams - 2013 AgriScot Business Skills Winner

Joseph Williams, a student at SRUC’s Ayr Campus, won the recent AgriScot Business Skills competition, impressing the judges with his critical appraisal of a new agriculture product.

Organised by Scotland’s Rural College, on behalf of the successful AgriScot event, the Business Skills Competition is open to students and young people from all over Scotland who are keen to prove their expertise.

Josesph Williams worked on a range of livestock farms as a dairy farm worker, beef and sheep farm worker and poultry farm worker in both Co. Antrim and Isle of Tiree. He was encouraged to enter the competition by his course tutor at SRUC, and he is glad he did.

He said: “The whole process of the Business Skills Competition has been so beneficial for me. Obviously I am extremely pleased to have won but even if I hadn’t, I have gained so much. My confidence has really been boosted and my CV has no doubt benefited. I am also very grateful for the contacts that the competition has enabled me to build up. I would strongly recommend people to enter next year!”

The competition’s semi-finals saw the youngsters quite literally out in the field as they toured enterprises on farm and answered challenging questions from the host farmer and judge. The three finalists – Joseph Williams, Alistair McBain and Gareth Walker – were then required to assess and evaluate one of the new products being launched at AgriScot, in addition to answering questions on business management skills and topical agri-business issues.

Sandy Ramsay, Head of Farm Business Services at SRUC, chaired the judging panel and said that Joseph stood out from the start.

“Joseph really impressed the judges at the final interview at AgriScot. He presented himself as both confident and knowledgeable with a very good understanding of what makes a successful business work.  His critical appraisal of the “Cow View” product from GEA technologies demonstrated just how well he could appreciate a product and importantly critically measure its value to a farming business. Joseph was a very worthy winner of this year’s award.”

The other two finalists, Gareth and Alistair, also performed well and impressed the judges.

Jan Connell, Senior Tutor and Programme Leader for Agriculture at SRUC Ayr, encouraged Joseph to enter the competition.

She said: “Joseph is a very able student but lacks confidence, especially in the beef and sheep sector as his background and experience is more with dairy cattle. He was encouraged to participate because these competitions are so useful not in the winning but in building confidence and experience from which they grow. I have seen many students benefit in this way through finding their feet within competitions.”

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