Ambitious young farmer achieves dairy herd manager role

Owen on his graduation day

Owen Davies on his graduation day

Ambitious young farmer Owen Davies started his career in Australia after completing his Foundation Degree at Reaseheath.

This international job opportunity came about for Owen whilst he was still a student after impressing our then farm manager Mark Yearsley. Mark, who has since moved to a senior dairy operations management post in Australia, approached Owen when looking for an ambitious dairy herd manager – and he jumped at the chance.

Owen, 23, is now working at an impressive 10,000 acre dairy farm two hours drive north of Melbourne which currently has 2,000 high yielding cows but plans to expand to 4,000 cows in the not too distant future. He is spending his first year learning all the aspects of the business, including the care and commercial output of the dairy herd, the breeding  and production of youngstock.

Coming to college with no previous farming background, Owen initially completed his Level 3 Diploma in agriculture with us, which included a full middle year work placement at a dairy unit. He then progressed on to his Foundation Degree in Agriculture, excelling in all areas, Owen achieved an overall distinction.

He says: “I wouldn’t have got this amazing opportunity without being an agriculture student at Reaseheath. Coming to college has been the major factor in getting me to where I am now and where I’m likely to be in the future.”

Catching up with Elizabeth Murray, NPTC Level 4 Higher Diploma in Floristry, 2013

Elizabeth Murray Level 4 floristry alumnus editA practising solicitor, Elizabeth combines her daytime career with her passion for floral design.

Introduced to floristry through a Saturday leisure course offered by our Floristry Department, Elizabeth was so inspired that she continued learning on our beginners, intermediate and advanced level NOCN evening classes.

She then progressed onto the professionally recognised City & Guilds Levels 2 and 3 Diplomas and in 2013 achieved her Level 4 Higher Diploma – one of the most advanced qualifications available.

Elizabeth has found that her love of flowers, coupled with the inspiration and training offered by our lecturers, has opened doors to a whole new world.

Now, Elizabeth’s primary floral passion is the art and philosophy of Ikebana – Japanese flower arranging She has  gained her Associate Second Master’s certificate with the Ohara School of Ikebana, and is one of only a handful of English people to achieve this level. Elizabeth teaches Ohara Ikebana in London to students of all nationalities, including several who fly to London from overseas to attend her classes.

Busy Elizabeth is also President of the Manchester Chapter of Ikebana International and Vice-President of the England Chapter of the Ohara School of Ikebana.

“My journey has been amazing,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every one of my courses at Reaseheath. They have all helped to foster and pull together my interest in floral design.”

Careers in focus: Andrew Moule, FdSc Dairy Technology (Eden), 2013

Andrew Moule Graduate QandA

Dairy technology alumnus Andrew Moule took time out of his busy schedule as Production Manager for Muller Wiseman Dairies (Droitwich) to answer a few questions about his time at Reaseheath College and offers a little insight into his career related successes.

What led you to study at Reaseheath?

I left school at 16 and took a part time job while I looked for full time work. My Dad who was working at Wiseman’s as a Driver told me about vacancies in the logistics chill loading vehicles. I was successful in getting the job and worked for 4 ½ years in the logistics chill doing various roles before in Oct 2010 I applied for Project Eden.

Coupled with the companies positive attitude and support towards the course I was able to gain experience in most areas of the production side of the business, develop my skills, knowledge and connections.

What attracted you to your current job role?

I have been working at Muller Wiseman Dairies for nearly eight years and had experience in nearly all areas of the  company’s production & logistics departments, so to manage the key production area of the business seems to be the most logical step to boost my experience, knowledge and provide me the key ingredients to step forward and progress within the business.

What does your typical day involve?

There are four roles which I undertake as Production Manager, these are Early Shift Duty Manager / Back Shift Duty Manager / Early Support Manager or Days. As duty manager, I would oversee the sites milk process & production which is 5 milk pasteurisers, 3 cream pasteurisers, six standard milk filling lines, two ESL (extended shelf life) milk filling lines & 3 cream fillers. As support, I would assist the Duty Manager on the early shift & on days I would concentrate on my department (Polybottle Filling) and address staffing issues for my 49 staff who report to me, health & safety & quality issues, performance improvements & general admin.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

I would say, knowing that because of mine & my teams hard work everyone can have & their enjoy their milk every day with their tea, coffee & cereal.

Can you tell us a little more about your environment in terms of work-life balance…?

Due to the nature of the business the shifts range from (4:30am to 2:30pm) or (2:30pm to finish) (Monday – Saturday) if I am duty manager on early or back shift. If I’m working days it’s Monday – Friday 7am – 4pm.

My Girlfriend works away in the week so most weekends I spend with her. This means working the shifts in the week isn’t an issue for me.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path?

Gaining experience in a production environment would be a key benefit to anyone looking to go into production management. Working or applying to a company which offers work based learning schemes such as Project Eden is a very good way to gain academic skills as well as practical “hands-on” experience which is what I believe employers look for.

Salaries are negotiated on experience and length of service and can vary quite a lot, gaining a broad range of skills will endeavour to stand you in best stead for a prosperous career in the dairy industry. With the range of opportunities across the industry ever expanding, I’d say dairy is a very secure & fulfilling career, exciting prospects particularly for new graduates!