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Finalists for Pfizer Poultry Trainee of Year

Three poultry workers from Lincolnshire and Norfolk have been chosen as finalists competing for the 2009 Pfizer Poultry Trainee of the Year Award.

Now in its third year, the award recognises the importance of training in helping poultry producers meet increasingly demanding market standards as well as in developing individual careers.

The award, including training grant paid through the winner’s employer and a cash prize together worth £2,500, will be presented by the Farming Minister Jim Fitzpatrick at a House of Commons ceremony on 5 November for both the poultry and pig sectors.

The finalists are:

Anthony Plaskitt, of Billinghay Dales, near Sleaford, who chose the security of a job in the food industry after 8 years in the Army including service in the First Gulf War. He quickly adapted to the job with Padley, now Moy Park — ‘Much of the daily routine is regimented — just like I’d become used to in the army,’ he says. His success in managing one of the company’s smaller broiler growing farms in Suffolk led to him moving to Billingham to manage the largest. He was one of the first to gain an NVQ Level 3 qualification in livestock production when it was introduced in 2004 and is now completing the first year of a foundation degree in agriculture and environment with the University of Lincoln.

Andrew Hall, of Scunthorpe, started in a chick hatchery with PD Hook after being made redundant from a job on a pig farm. After a fire at the Gunness hatchery he was deployed on to a poultry breeding farm where he liked the working pattern similar to the pig unit and opted for this rather than return to the hatchery when it reopened. He works on PD Hook’s Susworth farm, which supplies hatching eggs from broiler breeding stock. Hall completed an NVQ Level 2 in livestock production in March with Norfolk based training provider Poultec, and is seeking to further his qualifications in rearing breeders and broilers – potentially becoming one of the few experienced in all sectors of hatchery and poultry production.

Tom Neal, of Watlington, near King’s Lynn, saw a First Diploma in Animal Care as a route to a career but it was only after several years working in a grocery shop that he secured a position with Cobb Europe in 2005 when they were introducing a new rota system on their breeding unit at Wretton. Providing eggs for hatching grandparent stock for customers across Europe and Africa, the unit is near the top of the breeding pyramid but Tom adapted well to the exacting routine and the job now comes as second nature. He gained an NVQ Level 3 with Easton College in March and would like to progress his career with a foundation degree in poultry or management training, as well as information technology.

Natalie Berkhout

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