Students from 23 countries who attended the recent Aviagen Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) School Breeder Module have pronounced the course 'empowering' following a week-long workshop-style business focused exercise.
In response to feedback from the previous module, the main focus of the school, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, was on the different factors that might affect the production of fertile hatching eggs and included workshops and hands-on sessions rather than straight forward lectures or textbook learning.
Students were placed into teams and given details of a fictitious business 'Gallus Alba' to investigate. Using the techniques they had learnt on the course, students were asked to look at the profitability of the business and suggest ways to increase quality and cut costs.
Aviagen and external specialists were on hand as tutors and covered areas including; data handling and analysis, ventilation, veterinary health, nutrition, critical age management and financial benchmarking, all vital skills in running a successful poultry business.
One student, Vincent Klutse of Atria, Finland, commented:
"The take home messages were clear on many fronts and will empower me in my work. My profound gratitude to all tutors and the School Team for a well-organized program."
Interviewed about the success and thinking behind the concept, School Director Nick Spenceley said:
"This was a new project for us in Europe, something that had never been done before and overall everyone has been delighted with excellent feedback from students and tutors. One thing that I have especially enjoyed is walking into a room of 30 people who don't know each other, all sitting in geographic groups and after 24 hours they are all working together and chatting like they have been friends for years.
"Practical examples have worked best as they cross the language barrier. Hence the formation of Gallus Alba, looking at data handling through pivot tables, how that information can help us focus our management time on areas to improve productivity. We hope the bonds and friendships built during these team exercises will last beyond the week's course because sharing knowledge by picking up the phone is one of the best things in this industry. The school forum will help our students to do this as well.
"The fact we are oversubscribed for every course shows there is a need for this type of training within the industry and Aviagen appreciates this vote of confidence from our customers."
The segment of the course most appreciated by students this time round was 'pivot tables'; understanding data sheets and how using them could improve their business really hit home, demonstrating that a successful poultry business isn't all about getting dirty!
Winners of the business development event were unveiled at a graduation ceremony following the week long school. Team Orange consisting of Matthew Godfrey, Faccenda, UK, Luis Vera Kellet, Aviagen Asia Team, Claire Hook, P D Hook Hatcheries, UK, David Jimenez Zarza, SADA, Spain and Ivan Mitkov Kechedzhiev, Milenium-2000 Ltd, Bulgaria took home the honors.
Claire Hook commented: "The one thing I have really learnt about this week has been the pivot tables. An incredibly useful tool and something I will certainly take back to my work."
Matthew Godfrey added: "It's been fantastic: the classroom environment, the tutors, everything really. I've learnt a lot I can take back to my day job. I've never used pivot tables before and it was a real eye opener. I find Microsoft Excel a bit daunting but it was explained in such a clear way we could use and analyze the raw data. I can't understand how I didn't do this before!"