HCC restarts scholarship programme for 2022

HCC restarts scholarship programme for 2022

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has relaunched its travel scholarship opportunity for individuals working within the meat industry.

Thomas Howells chose to focus on upland grazing management systems during his study tour to New Zealand.

For nearly 20 years, HCC has been offering its annual HCC Scholarship to farmers, butchers, processors and others who are employed on a full-time basis within the red meat sector. Following a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the window to apply to the scheme is now open.

As part of the scholarship, individuals will spend up to six weeks studying elements of the beef, sheep or pork sectors in a country of their choice. Successful candidates are awarded up to £3,000 towards their trip. In return, they will be expected to report back on their findings to HCC and be willing to share their new knowledge with the industry by undertaking presentations to farmer groups.

Upskilling the industry

James Ruggeri, HCC’s industry development executive, said: “It gives us great pleasure to start a renewed search for potential scholars this year.” He continued: “Investing time and money in the people working within the food and farming sector is important, now more than ever as our economy recovers from the pandemic. We are keen to play our part in the upskilling process and this is where the HCC Scholarship can help.”

Ruggeri stressed the  advantages associated with winning the scholarship. “Not only will you be given an opportunity to travel, but you will be allowed to explore an industry that you love, gain ideas and insights which could transform your business, and make useful connections around the world. You will also automatically become a member of HCC’s Scholarship Association which is another opportunity to gain valuable experience and advice from others within the industry.”

“A great opportunity”

Farmer Thomas Howells, who was awarded an HCC Scholarship in 2017, said: “It was a great opportunity and I felt like I had nothing to lose but so much to gain. Being able to choose my own research topic – upland grazing management – made the scholarship appeal much more as I could gain knowledge which could benefit me in the future.

“The month that I spent in New Zealand visiting farms, universities and attending open days gave me the knowledge and confidence to develop systems at home which have proven worthwhile. I learnt to become more self-sufficient and sustainable by turning surplus grass in the summer into winter feed either through bales or growing brassicas. This has been a cost saving and simple.”

He added: “The main and most common thing I heard over there was to keep it simple; pick your KPIs and stick to them. We are price takers and therefore need to keep a watchful eye on our costs. Understanding why some farmers weren’t using this grazing method, and also why many were, was as beneficial as they’d had years of experience and all had a valuable reasoning behind their systems.”

Individuals interesting in applying for the scheme must complete an application form on the HCC website before 11th February 2022.

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