25 Jul 2022

Aviagen UK Announces First Next-Gen Scholarship Winners

Aviagen Next-Gen Scholarship WinnersAviagen is committed to developing the future of the poultry industry

EDINBURGH, Scotland. – Aviagen® UK is proud to announce the first recipients of the Next-Gen scholarships: Rob Evans, Farm Manager at Avara Foods Ltd., and Sean Harrison, Farm Manager at H. Timmis Farms Ltd.

The Aviagen team established the scholarship program earlier this year to offer a fully funded place for two emerging UK poultry professionals to engage in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) Production Management School in Edinburgh.

Rob will participate in the Breeder Module, which will be held Aug. 28-Sept. 3, and Sean will attend the Broiler Module, scheduled for Nov. 27-Dec. 3.

“I am delighted with the volume of quality applicants for our first Next Gen scholarship, which also made the choosing of winners very difficult,” said Stuart Thomson, Head of Sales and Technical at Aviagen UK. “On behalf of the Aviagen UK team, I congratulate Rob and Sean, two outstanding professionals, who are passionate about our industry, and I have no doubt will make positive contributions to its sustainability for years to come.”

Technical Service Manager Niamh Molloy also commented on the popularity of the scholarship initiative, “It is exciting to see the thirst for both the broiler and breeder knowledge. It is rewarding to be part of the difficult process of selecting a suitable candidate. Both Rob and Sean showed a passion for the industry and also for ensuring a dynamic and successful future of our UK industry. Well done to both and I am sure they will bring a lot and also take a lot from the school.”

Spotlight on the winners

As a young farmer just beginning his breeder management career, Rob has worked with both chickens and turkeys. He has experience running farms with a focus on sustainability, which he advises is key to economic and biological performance. Through the EMEAA Breeder School, he hopes to gain more insight into bird health and welfare, as well as management of a modern chicken business. “Learning how to do more for the birds and for my staff, how to work even more effectively and efficiently would be hugely valuable,” he said. “Informative schooling provides farmers with a better understanding of their work and of new practices to take back to their farm and share with others. This keeps knowledge current and fuels passionate farmers such as myself with the want to keep striving for optimal, safe and quality farming.”

Looking to the future, Rob aspires to acquire new skills and learn about more and more aspects of UK poultry farming, enabling him to “share my knowledge, passion, and experiences with next-generation farmers. My desire is to help develop the UK poultry industry as a whole, to encourage progression in order to make a difference to the world we live in.”

Sean, who is a Ross® 420 Club Gold winner and is actively engaged in the prestigious Club, has been a broiler farm manager dedicated to bird welfare for more than a decade, and is happy for the path his career has taken him on. “I believe that often your greatest accomplishments are created on a path you never believed you would be on.”

He explains that he is eager to begin a new chapter of growth and understanding how to optimize the genetic potential of birds for steady improvement in performance, health and efficiency. “The sky is the limit when it comes to what can be achieved, and I think I’m just scratching the surface.”

For Sean, the family-like connectedness is one of the most attractive aspects of the industry. “There isn’t another industry where people commit to one another as much as poultry. I have been supported by so many, and have also been lucky enough myself to support others, which creates friendships and close professional relationships.”

Looking ahead, Sean says he hopes to show his children that “hard work does pay off. I love how proud my family is of my achievements. My aspiration is to give back, to reach a level where I can help others accomplish great things.”