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WESTCOUNTRY FARMER: Graduate trainees get real work experience

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

  • Mole Valley Farmers trainee Beth Gibson.

  • Mole Valley Farmers graduate James Paxton.

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It’s going to be an action packed 12 months for new Mole Valley Farmers graduate trainees, Beth Gibson and James Paxton as they embark on their career development within the business.

Beth and James are the first to be accepted onto Mole Valley Farmers new graduate trainee scheme, which has been designed to support enthusiastic young people wanting to get involved in the £400 million turnover business.

From going on the road with the Feed Solutions nutritionist team, to soil sampling and working with a straights trader in one of the feed mills, the pair will have the chance to draw on the wide range of agricultural expertise within the company.

For young dairy farmer Beth, being accepted onto the programme has provided her with an opportunity she never thought she’d get.

“I got a national diploma in agriculture from Hartpury College and then helped my dad on our council dairy farm, but we got rid of the cows in 2010,” she says. “I was then a herd manager for three years, but I fancied a change from milking someone else’s cows and wanted to get my own profession.”

Beth then decided the greatest opportunities lay in nutrition, but with no degree she was unsure if being a nutritionist was achievable. However, her passion was rewarded when she was offered a place on The Mole Valley Farmers graduate training programme.

“They offered me all the training so I could get the knowledge without the degree. There’s such a knowledge base within the company and It’s exciting to have these people to teach me. It’s quite an honour,” Beth says.

Part of the trainee’s placement will include undertaking a diploma in ruminant animal nutrition, which Mole Valley Farmers have developed in conjunction with training establishments such as Harper Adams University.

So far Beth says she has particularly enjoyed her placement visiting farms with the nutritionist team, which has confirmed her ultimate career goal.

“I like the idea I can help farmers get the best out of their herds and I think my practical experience helps with that. My experience with the Feed Solutions team is teaching me a lot about how to communicate technical messages to farmers,” she says.

Julie Edwards, head of agricultural marketing and communication for Mole Valley Farmers says the graduate programme reflects the company’s drive to invest in young people and training.

“We are very aware of the importance of succession planning and ensuring we provide staff with industry knowledge and experience of all elements of our business. This will ultimately ensure we offer the highest levels of technical advice and service to our customer base,” she explains.

For Reading university graduate James, being involved in the Mole Valley programme is helping to shape his career path and build on his already strong knowledge base.

James’ main interests lie in the red meat sector, having grown up on his family’s beef and sheep farm not far from the Mole Valley Farmers head office in South Molton. He actively sought out career options within the company after returning home from a year spent working on farms in New Zealand and Australia.

“The programme provides a great opportunity to understand different sectors of the business and confirm which path I wish to take,” he says. “The support within the company is very good with everyone willing to spend time with me to help me learn further, as well as offer advice.”

The wide range of placements on offer within the programme has enabled James to experience different areas of the business he perhaps hadn’t thought of before.

“I have spent the last few weeks with the feed procurement team which is an interesting side. It’s such an important role that largely goes un noticed, but it’s vital to provide a quality product at a price farmers are willing to pay,” he says.

For further information on graduate employment opportunities with Mole Valley Farmers call 01769 575688.

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