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Zoetis / BPC Poultry Trainee Award 2014 Goes to Cheshire

04 December 2014

UK - The elder of two Cheshire brothers chosen as finalists, Sam Jones, is the 2014 winner of the Zoetis - British Poultry Council Trainee of the Year Award.

Sam Jones was presented with the award, which includes a £2,000 training grant from Zoetis and £500 cash prize from the magazine Poultry World, by Anne McIntosh, chair of the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at the British Poultry Council’s annual awards ceremony at the House of Commons on 2 December.

The picture above shows Sam Jones (second from left) of Aviagen Turkeys, winner of the 2014 Poultry Trainee of the Year award, with John Reed (left; chairman of the British Poultry Council), Anne McIntosh and James Porritt (Poultry Manager for Zoetis in the UK).

Success comes at the second time of entering. The first was two years ago when he was on the Aviagen Turkeys management trainee programme — now he has progressed to manage six grandparent farms.

The judging panel – Philip Clarke, editor of Poultry World; Tony Grainger, Zoetis poultry manager for UK and Ireland, and Richard Griffiths, BPC director of food policy – said Sam Jones showed ‘an edge of commitment to learning, willingness to develop and awareness of how he wants his career to progress’ that earned him the award.

Sam Jones began as a weekend egg collector at the age of 14 and took up full-time employment three years later on an Aviagen Turkeys’ breeder farm in Cheshire. Gaining responsibility for pedigree flocks and achieving a NVQ level 3 work-based diploma led to a two-year management traineeship covering customer support and research as well as hatchery and breeder skills, culminating in promotion to his current position.

Coinciding with this was the option to enrol on the new, distance learning HNC course in poultry production at the Scottish Agricultural College, now known as Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Aviagen Turkeys director of production and veterinary support, Dr Kenton Hazel, has praised Sam’s ‘aptitude for working with turkeys, thirst for knowledge and infectious enthusiasm to everything he does.’

Lorraine McAulay, SRUC’s poultry programme leader, commented: “Sam is just one of those students that stands out from the crowd. I look forward to reading his work – it makes me smile. All so well thought out and full of enthusiasm for the poultry industry that fills me with optimism for the future.”

Sam Jones intends to use the £2,000 grant to continue his study at SRUC, possibly progressing to an MSc in applied poultry science.

He said: “This would help me gain a higher level of understanding, ability and credibility, hopefully enabling me to move through the company into a more senior position.”

In addition to the training grant and cash prize, he receives an engraved trophy with another trophy for Aviagen Turkeys.

The runners-up were Sam's brother, Joseph Jones, who also works for Aviagen Turkeys in Cheshire and earlier this year was named as Poultec young apprentice of the year; Aaron McKenna, a zoology graduate who is undertaking a graduate management programme with Moy Park at Anwick in Lincolnshire, and Emma Mingo who has farming experience in the UK and New Zealand and now manages a free-range broiler unit for Thomas Browne at Oaks & Pitts Farm, Newton St Cyres, near Exeter, Devon.

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