Wayland Agricultural Society launches 2016 Young Achiever award

Wayland Show Young Achiever Award: 2015 winner Oscar Smith (centre) with Tony Valentine (left) of sp

Wayland Show Young Achiever Award: 2015 winner Oscar Smith (centre) with Tony Valentine (left) of sponsors Tufts and Wayland Show chairman Adrian Soskin (right). - Credit: Debbie Harris

Aspiring young rural entrepreneurs have been urged to put forward their passions for a chance to win career-boosting prizes worth up to £2,000.

The Wayland Agricultural Society has launched its Young Achiever of the Year award for 2016, designed to recognise outstanding dedication and contributions to agriculture, horticulture, wildlife or any other rural-related sector or industry.

A £100 cash prize is on offer along with industry-specific training and mentoring, individually-tailored to help the winner in their chosen career.

Entrants, who must be under 26 years of age on the day of the Wayland Show in Watton on August 7, will be required to demonstrate their commitment to their related subject, as well as making a presentation on their achievements and aspirations to a panel of judges.

Wayland Show chairman Adrian Soskin said potential candidates could apply themselves, or be nominated by friends, relatives or colleagues.

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'The committee wants to encourage young, exciting entrepreneurial people within agriculture or associated industries. Past winners have come from many different sectors. It is a written application as to why you think you should be a deserving cause, and then the shortlisted candidates are asked to make a presentation in front of a panel of judges.'

Last year's winner was 21-year-old Oscar Smith, from Norwich, who currently works as a groom for Gateridge Heavy Horses in Northamptonshire while studying part-time for a foundation degree in Easton and Otley College.

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He said the award had helped gain him new qualifications and contacts which will help his ultimate goal of starting his own rare-breed livestock enterprise.

'I have used the money to gain a FACTS (Fertiliser Advisers Certification & Training Scheme) qualification but, other than that, I am sure it has made people take note of me a bit more, and it has provided contacts with people within the industry that I didn't think I would have,' he said. 'There is a lot of support out there for people who want to make a difference.

'My long-term ambition is to have my own sustainable farming business that stands on its own two feet, and to utilise that to engage and educate the general public about the farming industry.

'I want to do that by using my passions for rare breed livestock. I am not suggesting we should all go back to breeding Red Polls, but that is what I like.'

The awards are supported by Poultec Training and sponsored by builders' merchants Tufts of Bradenham, whose managing director Tony Valentine said: 'The Tufts family are a farming family, so we wanted to be part of something specific to help someone locally who is interested in farming today, and enthusiastic about their future and the future of the industry.'

Entries must be received by June 13. For more details and application forms, see www.waylandshow.com/young-achiever-of-the-year.

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