Promising Students receive Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Awards

9 July 2016

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 2016 Student of the Year Award has been won by Aled Davies of Llangadog, Carmarthenshire.

Aled is currently studying 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.

Whilst studying at Coleg Sir Gâr, Aled also works on the family farm helping with the sheep, beef and dairy herd, as well as helping on his aunt’s farm at busy times of the year.

Aled was involved with the first Agri Academy Junior Programme organised by Farming Connect and the NFU Next Generation Group. Both of these opportunities allowed Aled to spend time with likeminded individuals and industry specialists, as well as being a voice for young people within the agricultural sector.

Also a committed member of the Young Farmers, Aled is currently Chairman of the County Youth Forum, and Junior Member of the Year at county level and in Wales.

Aled will also be invited to write an article for the society’s 2017 journal and will be presented with his award on Tuesday 19 July at the Royal Welsh Show.

The Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship

This year, the Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship has been awarded to Aled Davies of Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, who is also the winner of the Student of the Year Award.

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

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 Kathryn Morris of Berriew, Welshpool, Powys.

Living on a beef and sheep farm, Kathryn has been a keen farmer from an early age and was awarded a Farmers Union of Wales Higher Education Bursary at the start of her degree course for her essay ‘Are we a nation of park keepers or food producers?’

Kathryn has acquired a teaching / lecturing post in Agriculture at the NPTC Group’s Newtown site at the start of the year and has been combining some part time teaching with her studies for the last few months.  She also runs a small flock of pedigree Texel ewes and is an active member of Berriew YFC.

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.

Kathryn will be presented with a certificate on Tuesday 19 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 this year been awarded to two very deserving students; Sophie Jones of Aberbran, Brecon, Powys and Liam Williams of Nelson, Treharris, Glamorgan.

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 students 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.

Sophie and Liam will be presented with a crystal decanter on Tuesday 19 July at the Royal Welsh Show.

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 Cennydd Jones, a BSc(Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science student at Aberystwyth University.

Cennydd lives on a dairy farm near Pontsian, Llandysul, Ceredigion, and it is partly due to his enthusiasm for dairying that the family farming business has returned to dairy. “Over 30 years ago, my grandparents converted from dairy to suckler beef, however to secure a long term future, we agreed the only way forward for this grass based unit was to convert back to dairy and gradually expand to 120 cows,” he said.

After graduating, Cennydd plans to study for an MSc in Livestock Science and to travel before returning to the family unit and hopefully securing a part time consultancy position. “Having already gained experience working on low input systems in New Zealand, I’d next like to travel to countries supporting more efficient systems, and learn more, for example, about fertility management.”

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 seven 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.

Cennydd will be invited to write an article for the society’s 2017 journal and will be presented with his award on Tuesday 19 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 Hanna Thomas of Llwyndrain, Llanfyrnach, Pembrokeshire   

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.

Having left school as the head girl and with 12 GCSEs and 3 A-levels, Hanna was destined to do well at university. Despite starting her studies of a degree in Welsh at Aberystwyth University, Hanna soon realised that her heart and mind was set on a career in Agriculture and in September 2014 transferred to study for a Foundation Degree course in Agriculture at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth. Hanna has now completed this course and has decided to continue her studies and progress to study for a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture.

As part of her honours course Hanna will need to complete an independent project and her plans are to study efficient grassland production with particular emphasis on grass measuring with mobile electronic satellite tracking techniques.

Her home farm at Drysgolgoch currently has a dairy herd of 680 cows and has been prominent in the industry for many generations. Hanna has experienced good agricultural practice at home during her upbringing but to enhance her experience she undertook a work placement during her time at college with Agri Angels Ltd Carmarthen, a company of agricultural consultants. This took her onto farms to assist with secretarial and consultancy activities and enhanced her interest in the possibility of pursuing a career in this kind of work after graduating.

Hanna’s interests are many and varied having taken part in YFC and Urdd competitions over the years and selected by the Urdd a few years ago to visit Patagonia as part of a small group from Wales. The judges were impressed with her range of interests and her clear vision for the future and felt confident she would make excellent use of this Scholarship and would benefit considerably from it.

Hanna will be presented with her award on Tuesday 19 July at the Royal Welsh Show.