The Youth Development Programme is back again this year with many events to look forward to throughout the year! After a very successful 2017, the workshops make a return in the next week, kicking off at Brymore Academy in Somerset on the 8th April. Youngsters will get the chance to try their hand at all the necessary skills for working in the cattle breeding industry, from handling and washing the cattle to showing them in the ring itself.
All events cater for youngsters of all ages and abilities, so there should be something available for everyone no matter what your goal is. This year’s weekend event will take place in Shrewsbury on the last weekend of September, which will be used as a great round-off of all the workshops and give us the chance to reward some of the youngsters who will participate so brilliantly throughout the year. To view a list of this year’s YDP workshops and how you can get involved if interested, visit: https://www.aberdeen-angus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/attachments/2018-YDP-workshop-schedule.pdf.
With the YDP workshop season about to kick off, we spoke to William Haire who is one of many trainers who so kindly dedicate their time to help with these events and educate our youngsters. William has told us all about his experience as a trainer and why he thinks you should get involved with the Youth Development Programme this year!
What is your background?
“I work for the East of England Agricultural Society as their Agriculture Development Manager which sees me managing all of our agricultural and membership activities including the Winter Stock Festival. Until three years ago I worked with my family on our farm just outside Belfast where we have a commercial suckler and successful Poll Hereford herd, which I have been involved with from a very young age. I have also worked in the USA and in Canada with the Latimer family at Remitall Farms which gave me the encouragement and motivation to get involved with the YDP.”
What do you enjoy the most about being a trainer at the YDP?
“My specialism has become stock judging and ring craft. I believe that the fundamentals of good breeding start with correct structure and it is therefore important that programme participants (and breeders alike) understand its importance and relevance to developing a herd. I think there are a lot of life skills to be learnt with both subjects; the ability to think on one’s feet, speak confidently, communicate an opinion, take pride in one’s appearance and be a graceful winner or loser are all transferable skills and highly sought after by employers. I am sure many participants would also say I like to make them sweat and challenge them, but in reality I like to see them listen, learn and succeed.”
What do you feel are the greatest benefits of the YDP?
”The YDP gives the participants a fantastic opportunity to learn skills that they might not otherwise have until they are a lot older, so it is giving them a great head start. They also get to learn from a range of people therefore picking up different ideas and learning to think for themselves. I think the senior conference is a great way for older participants to broaden their industry knowledge, giving them a grounding in commercial beef production and insight into the external links in the supply chain and the challenges they face.”
What would you say to people who are thinking about considering joining the YDP?
“Simple, what are you waiting for? There is usually a catch when things are free, but there aren’t any with the YDP. Meeting new people, developing skills and confidence, visiting farms, seeing great cattle and potentially travelling the world. What’s not to like? The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society are incredibly generous as are all the trainers in giving up their time, all because they can see the difference it makes. I wish there had been a YDP when I was young!”
We’d like to give William a huge thank you for taking the time to talk to us and for giving us an insight in to his role as a trainer at the YDP. As William mentions, the YDP provides a great opportunity to learn new and transferrable skills and is something that should not be missed. To find out more about the programme and how you can get involved, visit the YDP page on our website at: http://aberdeen-angus.co.uk/youth-development/.
William taking part as a trainer at a YDP workshop.