Sean Harrison, who left the hospitality industry to begin a career in poultry, is the 2016 winner of the Zoetis / British Poultry Council Trainee Award.
He was presented with the award, which includes a £2000 (US$2,510.95) training grant from Zoetis and a £500 (US$627.74) cash prize from the magazine Poultry World, by Farming Minister George Eustice at the recent BPC awards presentations at the House of Commons attended by more than 100 senior figures from the UK poultry industry.
Three years ago, at the age of 25, Harrison was becoming frustrated with his career in managing restaurants, bars and gymnasiums and its impact on his young family. Encouraged by the remarks of a poultry farmer client, he obtained a job with Faccenda Foods on the company’s broiler relief team in Northamptonshire.
After six months Harrison became an assistant manager on two separate 300,000-bird broiler units, and earlier this year he was promoted to farm manager on a 120,000-bird farm at Helmdon, Brackley, which also houses turkeys for part of the year.
“It was Sean’s rapid progression through Faccenda in his short time in the poultry sector and his clear plan for training to further his career that won the judges over,” according to the judging panel.
“He is the first to admit that his move from the hospitality industry to poultry farming has given him a secure, well-paid career.”
Harrison completed a Level 3 Diploma in Work-Based Agriculture (WBDA) in 18 months and has won an agricultural award from the training company Poultec. He would like to use the training grant to progress his Work-Based Diploma to level 5 and merge this with a leadership skills course.
The other finalists are Chloe Carter, who rears broiler breeders for Cargill Meats on a farm near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, and Kristine Libiete who manages a broiler site for Hook2Sisters at Laxfield in Suffolk.