Pfizer Announces Trainee of Year Award Winners

UK - Two highly promising livestock managers on farms in Staffordshire and Norfolk are the 2008 winners of the Pfizer Trainee of the Year Awards for the pig and poultry industries.
calendar icon 11 November 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

The awards, each worth more than £2500, were presented to Zoltan (Justy) Lovas and Daniel Bush by the former Farm Minister Lord Rooker at a ceremony at the House of Commons.

From left: runner-up Matthew Wright, Lord Rooker, winner Zoltan Lovas, runner-up Helen Hooks and Brian Geary of Pfizer Animal Health

From left: runner-up Martin Womack, Lord Rooker, winner Daniel Bush, runner-up Christopher Burton and Brian Geary of Pfizer Animal Health

The awards were introduced last year by Pfizer Animal Health in conjunction with the journals Pig World and Poultry World, recognising the importance of training in helping UK producers to meet higher animal welfare and food safety standards in an increasingly competitive global market.

Zoltan Lovas began working with pigs in his native Hungary, and then on two units in Denmark, before moving to England to join J D Leavesley at Needworth, Staffordshire, in 2006.

The judging panel — Stewart Houston, chairman of the National Pig Association and BPEX, industry consultant Gerry Brent and Pfizer veterinary relations manager Dave Roberts — described Zoltan Lovas as a shining example of how to apply experience and training to improve self-performance to enhance unit output.

“Zoltan was able to show how he had applied learned techniques to help the unit achieve exceptional levels of performance which would stand comparison with any site in the world,” said the judges.

Zoltan Lovas, whose first challenge was to learn English at night school, is now completing Certificates of Competence at NVQ Level 2 through the Agskills training programme. He works on a high health status 500-sow breeding and finishing unit considered to be among the top 10 per cent in the country.

The judges interviewed seven of the nine nominated entrants and were impressed by the universally high standard. Mr Houston commented: “Any one of the candidates would have been a worthy winner. I hope those who did not win will be encouraged to enter again as they have powerful chances to win in future.”

Daniel Bush, chosen as winner of the poultry award through votes of Poultry World readers, followed his father in working for Crown Chicken and began looking after chickens just over a year ago.

He now manages an 180,000-bird broiler unit at Swainsthorpe, near Norwich. Matthew Ward, agricultural director of Crown Chicken, said they were impressed by how quickly Daniel had learned and taken advice, quoting the example of how he had managed to counter the spiralling cost of heating, halving the use of gas through managing the ventilation according to the chickens’ body heat.

“Daniel has shown an aptitude for leaning and dedication to the job that sets an example to others,” said Mr Ward. “He has improved the results of the site and is now one of our top performing broiler farm managers.”

Andrew Farley, poultry lecturer at Easton College which provided the training, said Daniel is an enthusiastic student keen to qualify for NVQ level 3. “His assessor reported he was a pleasure to work — and hopes for many more like him”.

The award winners each receive a £2000 training grant and a £500 cash prize, together with an engraved trophy for them and their employers.

Runners-up for the pig award are Matthew Wright, of Thetford, who runs a new 100-sow outdoor organic outdoor unit at Cavenham, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, for David Pack under a BQP scheme; and Helen Hooks, manager of a 530-sow unit at Saham Toney for Bowes of Norfolk, which was the employer of the 2007 award winner.

Runners-up for the poultry award are Christopher Burton, of Hykeham, Lincoln, relief farm manager working with 25 farms of Moy Park in Lincolnshire — he chose a career in poultry after originally gaining a sports science qualification — and Martin Womack, who manages 92,000 broilers on two sites at Bunwell, Norfolk, for the Harvey family, broiler growers for Banham Poultry.

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