Promising Students receive Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Awards

8 July 2015

Each year the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society presents promising students and rising stars with awards and scholarships which recognises and pays tribute to their enthusiasm and dedication to Welsh agriculture.

Student of the Year Award

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s 2015 Student of the Year Award has been won by Martha Jane Sauro of Graig Burry Port, Carmarthenshire.

Martha is studying for an Extended Diploma in Agriculture at Coleg Sir Gâr and will receive a certificate and a cash prize for a study tour. 

The annual award, this year sponsored by Sainsburys, is open to students who have completed NVQ Level III or the BTEC ND/NC, C&G certificate/diploma courses in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Animal Nursing, Horse Management, Countryside Management or other land-based related management courses.

Martha will also be invited to write an article for the society’s 2016 journal and will be presented with her award on Monday 20 July at the Royal Welsh Show.

IBERS Student Award

The award for the best student of agriculture at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, has been won by Gruffydd Vaughan Thomas from Rhoshirwaun on the Llyn peninsula.

Candidates for the prize must have studied agriculture or a programme with a significant component of agriculture to degree, diploma or certificate level and should have been born and raised in Wales.

Gruffydd’s undergraduate dissertation was part of an ongoing IBERS research project – the Sustainable Ryegrass Product (STARS) project – where he looked at feeding the ensiled bio-refined residue to store lambs after the extraction of sugars for manufacturing. Coincidentally, Gruffydd’s father was also an Aberystwyth Agriculture student in the 1980s and Gruffydd’s initial plans after graduation are to return to the family farm.

Gruffydd will be presented with a certificate on Monday 20 July at the Royal Welsh Show.

Harper Cymry Student Award

The Harper Cymry Student Award, jointly promoted by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and Harper Cymry, has been won by Laura Bowyer of Llanbadoc, Usk, Monmouthshire.

Introduced in 1999, the award seeks to encourage students from Wales studying at Harper Adams University College to contribute fully to developing both their academic and personal potential.

The award recognises the student with the best academic record allied to a very positive contribution to the broader student learning environment of the college through its clubs, societies or through other activities. 

The award also embraces the student’s contribution to the activities of Harper Cymry, the college based club for students from Wales. In addition, the adjudicators at the interview, seek out the student who has the best thought out career plans and potential. The judges noted that Laura is “a lovely, enthusiastic and very determined young lady whose ambition is to become Wales Correspondent for a major farming publication”.

The Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship

This year, the Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship has been awarded to Susan Powell of Glangrwyney, Crickhowell, Powys.

The award was introduced in 2013 in memory of the late Gwili Jones who established his agricultural machinery business at Peniel, Carmarthen in 1947. The award encourages learners to explore, examine and evaluate different cultures and production systems that could prove beneficial in their chosen field of employment.

The scholarship is available to any student currently studying any land based course within the faculty of land based studies at the Gelli Aur and Pibwrlwyd campuses, or any student having successfully completed a course within the land based faculty at Coleg Sir Gâr within the last five years.

The travel scholarship aims to broaden horizons, and will support learners who demonstrate the potential to re-invest learning acquired through travel within the Land based industries in Wales

Dr Richard Phillips Agricultural Student Award

A Royal Welsh Agricultural Society award for students in memory of the late Dr Richard Phillips, a leading figure in agricultural education in Wales, has been won by Ben Strange, a student at Aberystwyth University.

Not originally from a direct farming background, Ben has always been keen to get involved in farming and pursue a career as a farm manager.

After working in the UK and abroad, Ben took a place at Aberystwyth University to study a degree in Agriculture with Business Studies. Having finished his course, Ben will now begin work for a large arable farming company in Lincolnshire.

The annual award, made possible by the generosity of Dr Phillips' family, is open to students graduating from agricultural departments of Aberystwyth and Bangor universities. This year there were five candidates for the £150 prize.

Students are pre-selected by the heads of the agricultural departments with each university being entitled to submit up to four students of agriculture or agriculturally related subjects.

The final selection is based on an appraisal of the student's personality, practical knowledge of agriculture and its application, depth and knowledge of the agricultural sciences, the economic implications and the role of agriculture in the future.

Ben will be invited to write an article for the society’s 2016 journal and will be presented with his award on Monday 20 July at the Royal Welsh Show.

Royal Welsh Scholarship

A £3,000 Royal Welsh Agricultural Society scholarship to encourage students to develop their potential through academic achievement so that they can make a more effective contribution to the agricultural industry has been awarded to Siân Hardy of Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

The Scholarship, sponsored by Waitrose, is intended to help students from Wales who have taken their Higher National Diploma or foundation degree at an agricultural college in England, Scotland or Wales.

Siân, who has considerable talent as a singer and is a keen sports woman, is currently studying at Harper Adams University completing a Foundation Degree course in 2015. She plans to return to Harper Adams in the autumn to pursue a BSc Honours course in Agri-Food Marketing with Business studies.  Her work experience is already fairly extensive with employment at a restaurant, local butchers, poultry and wholesale suppliers in addition to helping at home with the B&B and the farm shop.  In addition she worked as a marketing assistant at Elveden Farms Ltd, near Thetford, as part of her course, gaining valuable experience in organising events, managing social media and the Estate website together with responding to external enquiries.

During her studies Siân has undertaken a project focussing on children’s entertainment at farm shops and her aspiration, after more experience in the sector and further market research, is to develop her own farm shop with play area with the emphasis on educating children on the source of food. The judges were impressed with her clear vision for the future and felt confident she would make excellent use of this Scholarship and would benefit considerably from it.

The scholarship aims to encourage students of merit to develop their potential through academic achievement.  In addition to the cash award, the sponsors offer the opportunity of developing further contact and work experience through the Waitrose supply chain network.

In their report, the judges said they were very pleased with the standard set by the candidates and felt that they all had the potential for a bright future within the industry.