Aviagen Demonstrates Ability to Educate Globally

GLOBAL - On 31 May of this year, production management personnel from 20 countries gathered in Huntsville, Alabama, to celebrate the launch of the 50th Production Management School, hosted by Aviagen.
calendar icon 1 July 2013
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The event marked half a century of teaching and learning at Aviagen, which has benefited not only the company’s customers and employees but also the wider poultry industry.

The month-long school offers Aviagen customers a chance to gain hands-on experience with virtually every facet of poultry production. More than 1,500 poultry professionals from 62 countries have completed the programme since 1967, when it was founded in Connecticut as the Arbor Acres Production Management School.

Mark Wright, School Director, said: “For the 50th time, the best and brightest people in the poultry industry have gathered to immerse themselves in the latest science and best practices that define the finest in poultry production management. While the content taught in the Aviagen Production Management School has evolved considerably since 1967, the goal remains the same: to ensure that every graduate returns home with a firm, end-to-end understanding of broiler breeding and the vital issues that surround it.”

‘’From best production practices to animal welfare and biosecurity, we know that all our students over the years have not only furthered their own careers, but importantly, taken those insights back to their own companies, passed on the knowledge to other staff and delivered benefits across the industry. Over the years, we have seen over 1500 students which has made a huge impact on the poultry industry and left important legacy of achievement, innovation and education.”

The 50th Production Management school presented a school curriculum which included 17 field trips and workshops focusing on fertility, ventilation, gut health, feed information and much more. The classes and hands-on sessions were led by 50 instructors and experts from Aviagen, which gave a great tutor to student ratio with 31 students attending.

Participants at the 50th anniversary Aviagen Production Management School

Over the last few years though, Aviagen has made significant investments to expand the presence of its schools worldwide. Serving more markets and customers drove new education initiatives as part of the overall Aviagen customer support programme. The popularity of the schools meant that a solution needed to be found as it wasn’t possible to get everyone into the existing school structure. Therefore, satellite schools were created in China and Brazil. Now in its seventh year, the Aviagen China School has built its own reputation amongst the local customers and has grown to host well over 50 customers at each of the week long schools.

“The original idea was to communicate with our customers and update them and ourselves on many aspects of the industry,” commented Han Feng, Vice President, Aviagen China. “Recognising the importance of continuing to build relationships, we decided to try to overcome the limited number of places in the US based Aviagen School, make it easier to attend, remove any visa and travel issues along with the chance to have all proceedings in the Chinese language.” The Aviagen China School has been a great success and is now a highly anticipated event among customers and a permanent commitment on the annual calendar.

In 2012, Aviagen launched the first school specifically for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Apart from the location, the EMEA School differs as it runs as several week-long modules covering all aspects of broiler and breeder production. Aviagen developed different school modules for EMEA countries and holds each one in a different location to enable delegates to attend without taking four weeks off from day-to-day jobs and families. The first module took place in Edinburgh, the second one in Turkey and the third one in Amsterdam.

Aviagen aims to match the success of these schools in technical learning and making friendly contacts across the industry by providing a good platform for networking and exchanging knowledge. Topics have been varied, for example the Amsterdam school looked at the knowledge and skills needed to achieve optimum hatchery performance, and so produce a bird with the best start in life.

Following the success of the first three modules of the Aviagen EMEA Production School, the second round of modules is now being finalised. Incorporating feed-back from participants, a more interactive format, consisting of a series of small-group workshops and tutorials, will be part of the training. The next module will be on Breeders and will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, between 31 August and 7 September 2013, followed by the Broiler Module in Budapest, Hungary, on 15 to 22 February 2014 and the Hatchery Management and Incubation Module in Amsterdam between 15 and 21 March 2014.

Nick Spenceley, School Director, added: “The EMEA schools are great but we are still in the early days in comparison to the US school and are working with our students to provide a structure that really fits them. We’ve listened to the feedback and are making a few changes, we see this as a constantly evolving challenge, and something that will build on the existing close partnerships we have with our customers.”

All in all, the schools programme has delivered a lot of success for Aviagen and the industry. The new schools have placed even more emphasis on bringing together husbandry and performance with business acumen to broaden the experiences of students. The brand new format for the EMEA School will see students of the next breeder module splitting into teams to run a hypothetical company and to make decisions that affect the growth and success of the business. Each team will present a reasoned business case with any required capital investment justified for improving the output of least-cost fertile hatching eggs.

One area that has seen a lot of investment in recent years is Eastern Europe, especially Russia. With a vast market and widely differing conditions to cope with, a Russian satellite school has also been set up. The First Russian Aviagen Production Management School is taking place in Moscow, starting on 15 July.

Neil Clark, Regional Technical Manager, added: “We do recognise that while we are dealing with highly skilled people, for many, English isn’t their first language and we wanted to make sure that this didn’t become a barrier to learning. The lectures and hands-on sessions will be led by the Aviagen local Russian team who will be supported by Aviagen global specialists, exactly like the main schools. The new school creates an opportunity for the Russian students to gain practical and relevant knowledge and to work together as a more effective team.”

It is hoped that these latest schools will not only help satiate the desire for knowledge that exists within the industry but also lead the way for another 50 plus successful schools and thousands of graduates!

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