Promising Students receive Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Awards

25 July 2017

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.

All of the following students have been presented with their awards at the Royal Welsh Show today, Tuesday 25 July.

Student of the Year Award

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s 2017 Student of the Year Award has this year been won by two, very deserving candidates; Caitlin Jones of Llanfaethlu, Holyhead, Anglesey and Eifion Jones of Llangadfan, Welshpool, Powys

Caitlin is currently studying at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai (Glynllifon) and Eifion is studying at Grwp NPTC Group. Both 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.

Caitlin is an active YFC member and won Anglesey young Member of the Year in 2016, and Stockman of the Year (Anglesey) in both 2015 and 2016. Whilst at college, Caitlin has also been presented with the Lantra Learner of the Year 2016-2017 award. After completing her course, Caitlin hopes to continue with her studies at Harper Adams University.

Whilst at college, Eifion continues to work on the busy family farm, tractor work for a local contractor, as well as setting up and running his own welding and fabrication business, SEJ Engineering. For his business Eifion has received third prize in the WJEC Innovations Awards 2015 and first prize in the Montgomeryshire Agricultural Awards 2016 for his innovative fencer he designed and made himself. On leaving college, Eifion hopes to expand his growing business further.

The Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship

This year, the Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship has been awarded to Guto Tomos Jones of Llanwnnen, Lampeter, Ceredigion, who is also the winner of the Student of the Year Award.

Guto has just completed his Foundation Degree in Agriculture at University Wales, Trinity Saint David, Coleg Sir Gar, Gelli Aur.  A Foundation degree, which was completed mainly in Welsh. Guto works on the home farm where they specialise in finishing beef cattle and lambs. Guto visited New Zealand as part of a three week study tour in October 2016, he subsequently returned to New Zealand to shear and now intends to use this award to part fund a further in-depth study of how New Zealand farms operate without subsidies.

The Gwili Jones - Coleg Sir Gâr Travel Scholarship 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 Loree Jones, Builth Wells, Powys.

Loree has just graduated from Aberystwyth University with a 1st class degree in Agriculture with Business Studies along with winning the 'Best Performance in BSc Agriculture and Agri Related Degree Schemes' award.

A member of Radnor YFC, Loree has been in the Edw Valley YFC club since the age of 13, and has regularly competed in stock judging, cookery flower arranging and public speaking competitions.

“Since leaving university, I have secured a job with a civil engineering company and I hope to complete a masters whilst working” says Loree. “Being a Builth girl, I've been really honoured to have received this award at the Royal Welsh Show.”

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.

Harper Cymry Student Award

The Harper Cymry Student Award, jointly promoted by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and Harper Cymry, has been won by Sioned Williams, Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, Ruthin, Denbighshire.

Sioned has recently completed her final year exams at Harper Adams University where she has been studying for a BSc (Hons) degree in Business Management with Marketing. In her role as Student Ambassador, Sioned has represented Harper Adams University at events such as the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, the Welsh Winter Fair and University Open Days. She has also been a member of a member of the Harper Adams Hockey Society, and Secretary of the Harper Cymru student society.

Sioned enjoys helping on the family farm and has had a very keen interest in sheep from an early age. She is currently developing her own pedigree flock of Texel ewes. She is an active member of Ruthin Young Farmers Club and particularly enjoys competing in stock judging competitions.

Her university placement year was spent at CF fertilisers where she has been offered a role as a Commercial Graduate Trainee.  Her ambition is to ultimately to establish her own on-farm campsite.

Introduced in 1999, the Harper Cymry Student 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.

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 James Price, Presteigne, Powys.

James was awarded a Class 1 BSc (Hons) degree in Agriculture at Aberystwyth University in June 2017. As part of his four-year long degree course he spent a year working on beef and sheep farms in New Zealand and is determined to apply much of what he has learnt on the course and picked up during his time in New Zealand on the home farm near Presteigne.

James spends as much time as he can working on his home farm, which carries beef cattle and sheep, and for other local farmers. "I have a passion for farming, especially livestock, and it is the only career I have ever wanted," he said. Representing Presteigne YFC, he has won the county federation's junior stockman of the year competition and has been the club's treasurer.

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 of knowledge of the agricultural sciences, the economic implications and the role of agriculture in the future.

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 David Lloyd Rees, Maesteg, Bridgend.

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.

David has been brought up on a three hundred acre mixed farm of dairy, beef and sheep at Llangynwyd and from an early age has been particularly interested in the farming activities.

He has always helped on the home farm and also undertook work experience on a neighbouring farm during his school years. In 2014 he was accepted to Harper Adams University to study for a Foundation Science degree in Agriculture and with that now completed, and a keen desire to continue to improve his knowledge, he has now decided to progress to study for an BSc Honours degree in Agriculture at Harper Adams.

During his Foundation degree studies David undertook a placement year on a dairy and sheep farm near Morecombe in Lancashire where he assisted in looking after 420 milking cows and 250 beltex sheep. He proved to be a very keen and hard worker and through his efforts was adjudged runner up for the Nat West Award for Placement administered by the University.

David’s interests are many and varied. A keen member of the Bridgend Young Farmers Club he has represented his club in competitions such as public speaking, debating, stock judging and Tug of War and gone on to compete at county and Wales level in many instances. He has won the Best Junior Member Cup for the Bridgend Club three years running and for Glamorgan on two occasions.

David’s ambition on completion of his studies is to eventually return to the home farm and the judges have no doubts that he will make excellent use of the knowledge he will have gained at University. They however advised him to take every opportunity to expand his horizons even further before eventually returning to the home farm.