Herefordshire breeder farm manager Nicholas Ham is the winner of the 2013 Zoetis/British Poultry Council Trainee of the Year Award. He was presented with the award, which includes a GBP2,000 (USD3,266) training grant, by the Farming Minister George Eustice at the British Poultry Council's annual awards ceremony at the House of Commons.
The award, which recognizes ability, enthusiasm and progress through training, is sponsored by Zoetis in conjunction with the British Poultry Council.
Ham joined Cargill Meats Europe three years ago as an assistant on a 35,000-bird broiler breeder farm near Woolhope, Hereford, and after two years was promoted to run the unit. Uncertain about prospects for motor engineering facing the economic recession, he had chosen to begin a career in poultry rather than study engineering at university and worked initially on a free-range egg laying unit near Gloucester for three years.
John Nicholls, Cargill breeder manager, praised his 'good attention to detail and excellent stockmanship skill' - with training both in-company and through Poultec helping his development and promotion.
Ham gained a level 3 diploma in work-based agriculture during the summer, and plans to use the grant money to progress to higher level qualification and to further his knowledge of bird health. He would like to widen his experience of the broiler breeder sector and has his sights on becoming a fieldsman or area manager.
A member of the judging panel, Nigel Lodge, national veterinary manager of Zoetis, said "All three finalists showed dedication to the industry and a desire to progress within it. However, Nicholas' enthusiasm stood out and his plans for using the grant money would clearly benefit both him and his current employer."
The runners-up are Danny Ashley who works at the Aviagen Turkeys hatchery at Grantham, Lincolnshire, and Steven McMorrine, who manages a broiler farm for 2 Agriculture at Broxburn, near Edinburgh.