Business Skills Award
AgriScot 2012 Business Skills Competition Winner
This year’s AgriScot saw the third Business Skills competition and its first ever female finalist. After a very toughly fought final, the competition saw Sara Sands crowned the winner when her name was announced and prize presented by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP at the premier farm business event today (Wednesday).
The Business Skills competition, sponsored by Biocell Agri, specialist feed additive producers, was introduced two years ago by AgriScot chairman, Andrew Moir, during his first year of office. Andrew is keen to ensure that the younger generation is not only recognised as key to the future of the AgriScot event but that they are also given further opportunities to demonstrate their skills and ambition within the wider industry.
The competition looks to reward students and young people from all parts of Scotland for their commitment to developing their business skills within all sectors of agriculture. The experience of taking part in the competition, particularly for finalists and winners, will help those involved by giving them knowledge and confidence to help further their careers.
This year’s winner Sara Sands is from Southfield Farm, Abernyte, Perth. Sara is from a family owned mixed farm and is currently in the 4th year of the agricultural degree course at SRUC Aberdeen where she is secretary of the Agricultural Society. Sara is a keen member of the Carse of Gowrie Young Farmers where she enjoys a range of activities such as speech making, stock judging, hockey and tug of war.
Andrew Moir, speaking of this year’s competition said:
“Once again, I’ve been delighted to see a large number of young faces walking through the halls of AgriScot and I find that very encouraging for the future of our industry. We really must nurture and support the younger generation if we are to give farming a secure and profitable future.
“The winners from the past two years have gone on to achieve great things, either on their home farms or in employment elsewhere. Going forward I fully intend for this competition to reward more young people and demonstrate to them just what can be achieved when you put your mind to it. Last year, I commented after the competition that I wanted to see more girls coming forward into the final and so it is superb news that our independent panel have this year crowned Sara Sands as our very worthy winner.”
Sara, who wins £1,000 as well as the valuable status of winning, spoke of her achievement:
“I am delighted and proud to have won this competition. I was initially reluctant to enter but am now very glad that my lecturer persuaded me!
“The whole process has given me greater confidence for dealing with interviews and challenging situations and whilst the process wasn’t as daunting as I expected, because the judges were great at putting everyone at ease, I feel as though it has really helped me to develop my skills.
“I don’t think that me being a girl makes any difference in the competition but I do hope that it helps to demonstrate that women are just as capable of being successful farm business owners as men.”
When she graduates next year, Sara plans to spend some time travelling before coming home and pursuing a livestock related career. Having the Business Skills competition win on her CV will no doubt stand her in good stead.
The AgriScot team once again pass on their grateful thanks to sponsors Biocell Agri, without whom the competition wouldn’t be possible.
The Business Skills competition is organised by Bill Dingwall of SRUC and has the support of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs. All finalists faced a grilling from a panel consisting of Sandy Ramsay, SAC Consulting, John Kinnaird, AgriScot Director and Ian Hope, of Hayes McFarlane.