EACH year the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society presents promising students and rising stars with awards and scholarships which recognise and pay tribute to their enthusiasm and dedication to Welsh agriculture.
The following students were presented with awards at today’s Awards Ceremony (Tuesday 25th July) at the 2023 Royal Welsh Show.
Student of the Year Award
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s Student of the Year Award for 2023 has been won by Megan Hughes from Llanelli.
The annual Student of the Year Award is open to students who have completed NVQ Level III or the BTEC ND/NC, C&G certificate/diploma courses in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Animal Nursing, Horse Management, Countryside Management, or other land-based related management courses.
The judges, Mrs Joy Smith and Professor Wynne Jones OBE FRAgS, remarked on the exceptional standard of each candidate. In a tough decision, they decided that Megan Hughes was the winning candidate. Although not from a farming background, Megan has enthusiastically taken control of her career ambitions and endeavoured to take every opportunity to improve her knowledge and experience of the industry.
“Through her ability and dedication, she has earned the respect of her peers and employers. Megan is a very focused and motivated individual wishing to continue her studies in Veterinary Bioscience.”
The judges commented that the young candidates were all assets to the industry, speaking passionately about their studies, and career aspirations.
The Gwili Jones – Coleg Sir Gâr Educational Bursary
The Gwili Jones – Coleg Sir Gâr Educational Bursary has been awarded to Deio Lewis, from Lampeter, Ceredigion.
This award recognises the importance of supporting students who are entering the agricultural engineering industry through facilitating a one-week work placement with a prestigious manufacturer within the sector.
The bursary is available to any student currently studying the Agricultural Engineering course within the faculty of Agriculture at the Gelli Aur campus, or any student having successfully completed a course within the faculty at Coleg Sir Gâr within the last five years.
Deio lives on a farm in Cilcennin, Lampeter, Ceredigion, where they also run an agricultural civil engineering contracting business. He has just completed the first year Level 3 in Agricultural Engineering at Coleg Sir Gâr.
Deio’s short-term career plans include working for a dealership in order to acquire engineering experience and with his keen interest in modern technology, he is excited at the prospect of a first-hand experience of the operations at a manufacturer and is very grateful for this opportunity.
In the medium term, he would like to follow his father and work on the agricultural side of the business.
IBERS Student Award
The award for the best student of agriculture at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, has been won by Siwan Fflur Roberts from Llanwddyn, Powys.
Siwan graduates later this year with a first class degree in Agriculture. She has excelled in a range of subjects during her degree including Farm Planning and Advanced Farm Management, and Crop and Grassland Production Science and undertook a significant part of her studies through the medium of Welsh.
Siwan is a keen member of Dyffran Tanat YFC and has competed in a range of activities from public speaking to stock judging. She has also been active on the family farm during her studies including playing a key role in the family farm diversifying with a new ‘Glamping’ venture.
Harper Cymry Student Award
The Harper Cymry Student Award, jointly promoted by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and Harper Cymry, is awarded to BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing student Hannah Burgoyne from Sarnau, Llanymynech.
The Harper Cymry Student Award was first introduced in 1999 by the Late Mr Bill Ratcliffe, a Harper Adams Fellow and a founder of the Harper Cymry Alumni Association. The award seeks to encourage students from Wales studying at Harper Adams University to contribute fully to developing both their academic and personal potential.
The award recognises the student with the best academic record allied to a very positive contribution to the broader student learning environment of the college through its clubs, societies or through other extra mural activities. Also embraced in the award is a full contribution to the activities of Harper Cymry (the college based club for students from Wales).
The winner receives a cash prize and automatic eligibility for the Future Farmers of Wales programme.
Hannah said: “I thoroughly enjoy being a part of this community and now I feel much closer to it – I am very proud to have been recognised as the student worthy to have won this award. It has given me the confidence to put myself out there and try to achieve more in life, through either different experiences, jobs – and potentially other awards.”
The judges this year were Doris Taylor, Head of Development, Harper Adams University, Edward Worts and Sion Thomas (previous award winners). During the interview, the adjudicators seek out the student who has the best thought out career plans and potential.
Dr Richard Phillips Agricultural Student Award
A Royal Welsh Agricultural Society award for students in memory of the late Dr Richard Phillips, a leading figure in agricultural education in Wales, has been won by Aled John Jones from Coleg Sir Gâr.
The Award is made possible by the generosity of Dr Phillips’ family, comprises a Society Certificate and a monetary prize and is open to students graduating from Agricultural Departments of the University of Wales.
Students are pre-selected by the Heads of the Agricultural Departments, with each University being entitled to submit up to four students of agriculture and/or agriculturally related subjects.
The final selection is based on an appraisal of the student’s personality, practical knowledge of agriculture and its application, depth and knowledge of the Agricultural Sciences, the economic implications, and the role of agriculture in the future.
The judges, Mr Huw Griffith, Mrs Mary Elder Richards and Mr WI Cyril Davies FRAgS, were impressed with Aled’s infectious enthusiasm for all aspects of the agriculture industry.
“Aled’s impressive CV spoke well of his high academic and vocational successes. His travels have enriched his education and widened his horizons. Aled’s passion for the sheep industry is evident and his contribution to his local community is commendable.” remarked the judges.
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society would like to congratulate all of the award winners, and thanks all candidates for taking part.