Young Farmers profile: Engineering apprentice William Swan hopes to build the farm machines of the future

Will Swan, North Elmham Young Farmers. Picture: Norfolk YFC

Will Swan, North Elmham Young Farmers. Picture: Norfolk YFC - Credit: Norfolk YFC

As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club members, 20-year-old engineering apprentice WILLIAM SWAN talks about the skills which he hopes will help him build the farm machines of the future.

Pea harvesters made by Fakenham firm PMC Harvesters at work in the Norfolk countryside. Picture: Chr

Pea harvesters made by Fakenham firm PMC Harvesters at work in the Norfolk countryside. Picture: Chris Hill - Credit: Chris Hill

I have worked for PMC Harvesters in Fakenham as an agricultural engineering apprentice for three years.

I was working in the workshop for the first two years and now work in both the workshop and in the design office, depending upon where the work is. The job is very varied – I could be assembling one of the company's brand new 1189 pea and broad bean harvesters, or a 5180 detasseler for export around the world, or I could be designing bespoke solutions for a customer's requirement, or creating and prototyping new and ground-breaking technologies.

The job is varied and always presenting new challenges wherever I am. The future for the company is bright. I hope to be working on the next generation of machines, both building and designing. New advances in GPS technology and constant refinement of the harvesting process means that machines will always be changing and I want be part of the team that brings it forward to customers.

I have been a member of North Elmham YFC for three years. I am show secretary, so I will be organising the exhibit for the Royal Norfolk Show in 2019. I'm also part of the hockey team and love getting 'hands on' with competitions. I especially love the woodwork challenge – for example, making a milking stool or a gavel.

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The scrapheap challenges are a staple of the winter competitions and I find it great fun bolting and bodging bits together to make everything from a nativity scene to turkeys to Christmas trees.

I have found a great sense of belonging and friendship in the club. There is always friendly face with a pint to welcome you in.

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Thanks to competitions my communication and debating skills have developed. I used to be quite quiet before I joined, but you meet so many like-minded people that are all so friendly and you soon get to know everyone.


Name: William Swan

Age: 20

Occupation: Agricultural engineering apprentice at PMC Harvesters, Fakenham

YFC Club: North Elmham

How long have you been a YFC member?: Three years

• North Elmham YFC meets on Wednesday evenings at the Railway Arms, North Elmham. For more details about Norfolk Young Farmers contact the county office on 01603 731307.

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