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HARPER ADAMS: Gwyn Davies

Harper Adams Gwyn Davies
With the Harper Adams students away from the University campus for the summer we thought it was a perfect time to discover more about the work placements some complete as part of their studies. Here we find out about Gwyn Davies and his placement with Boarcross in Yorkshire.

Mae Gwyn Davies yn dod at ddiwedd ei gyfnod ar osodiad gwaith gyda Boarcross yn Swydd Efrog fel rhan o’i astudiaethau ym Mhrifysgol Harper Adams.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your placement.

My name is Gwyn Davies from Ceredigion in West Wales. I’m studying BSc Agriculture at Harper Adams University. Currently I am in my third year on placement in North and East Yorkshire with Boarcross Ltd. With only 2 months left of my 15 month industry placement, I have had a fantastic experience being introduced into the British pork industry. The business comprises of over 4,000 breeding sows over two sites, 80,000 laying hens over three sites and 2,000 acres of combinable crops, in addition to many finishing and weaner sites, along with bed and breakfast sites. 

Hailing from a beef, sheep and laying hen background in West Wales on my family farm I was keen to take the opportunity to broaden my agricultural experience in two sectors I’ve not previously experienced – pigs and arable. The industry placement has given me the opportunity to further learn and expand on the last two years of theory I’ve done in university and put it into practice, along with developing my career path. 

 

Tell us about some of your placement highlights

I have had a great introduction to British pork production, from the beginning of pork production right through to finishing across numerous sites and systems, with exciting trials being done along the way. As no two farms are the same, I have been fortunate to be given the opportunity to visit many across North England and experience the subtle differences between each. I’ve also seen the great importance of traceability from farm to fork. 

Boarcross Ltd. also offered me the opportunity to travel to the Western Cape in South Africa to work there for a month in May, which was a definite highlight of my placement so far. Seeing the differences in production and workplace environment out there in comparison to UK systems was a great eye opener in my development and understanding of global international production and markets. I worked on a 1,750 breeding sow unit, farrow to finish, roughly half an hour east from Cape Town between Durbanville and Stellenbosch. Luckily it was going into winter while I was there so I avoided the high temperatures!  

 

What are the benefits of a sandwich year in your degree?

Placement has definitely benefited my own personal development, by putting myself out of my comfort zone and experiencing something new and challenging which I relished greatly. It has opened my eyes into what career opportunities are out there for the future in conjunction with improving my overall confidence, team working and social skills within a work environment. 

 

How has your placement prepared you for your return to your final year at Harper Adams?

I feel confident about entering the industry after I graduate with over a year of industry placement and experience under my belt before graduation. I believe it has been a large stepping stone in personal development and maturity by gaining a huge amount of knowledge, and experiencing a different part of British agriculture with which I was unfamiliar twelve months ago. 

 

What would your advice be to someone who is just about to begin their placement year?

My advice to someone who is about to go on placement or looking at university courses with an included placement sandwich year is to take every opportunity that comes your way. Challenges change and develop a person and by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you are at the helm of experiencing what you are capable of. Outside of work it is important to build new social circles such as joining a local young farmers club, sports team such as rugby or even the local gym to keep active and healthy.

I look forward to the last few weeks of my placement on harvest alongside my fields-man work before returning to Harper Adams University for my final year of studying.

 

Harper Adams Gwyn Davies

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