My name is Claire Young and I am from Limavady, County Londonderry. Growing up on a farm, I had always an interest in agriculture and wanted to pursue a career within the agriculture industry and that is why I applied to study at CAFRE.
Our farm is a mix of commercial suckler cows and breeding ewes. A friend of mine had recommended CAFRE and it was then I knew that studying at Greenmount Campus would provide me with a great opportunity to start my career.
I decided to apply to the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture course at CAFRE, Greenmount Campus, and take a different route to getting a degree in agriculture instead of completing A-levels at school.
I really enjoyed my first year of the course at Greenmount Campus. CAFRE creates a feeling of a community and it allowed me to build friendships with like-minded people and the staff at CAFRE are extremely helpful and help me to reach my potential. I enjoyed being able to learn about different aspects of agriculture in the classroom, and the Greenmount Farms provided an excellent practical learning resource enabling me to ‘learn by doing’.
When it came to organising my placement year for the second year of the course I decided to apply for a placement on a farm with broiler houses to learn more about the poultry industry.
I also was keen to get a placement which included pedigree sheep. During my course I was provided with training and beneficial advice on interview skills which really helped me to secure a placement.
I started placement in July 2019 on a farm with 200 finishing cattle and 180 breeding ewes. It also has a flock of pedigree Suffolk and Texel ewes which are used for flushing and embryo transfer. I have gained lots of knowledge and skills on the husbandry and management of both these pedigree flocks throughout my year.
In addition, there are 130,000 broilers on the farm which I help with the day-to-day management tasks in the poultry houses. I have enjoyed learning about the poultry industry as it was a sector that I was unfamiliar with. My placement has been a brilliant opportunity for me to learn and achieve new skills in areas that I had very little knowledge of which will benefit me greatly in my future career.
In September I return to college to complete the final year of my course. Following that, I plan to continue my education and progress to complete a degree in agriculture.
My work placement has provided me a great knowledge and insight on the beef, sheep and poultry industry. I am grateful for all the opportunities and skills that I have gained in the past 12 months.