Farming lecturers share their experiences - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Working with students can be immensely satisfying: they are interested and keen to learn and to live out their tutors’ ideals of an agriculturally based life. Also at the same time students present special challenges. They have such potential, it takes knowledge, research, and innovation to serve them well.

Although they come to college with a range of experience, we are clear that each student needs to be stretched and challenged and able to work at their own pace. Their abilities will set them up for life, therefore it is vital that the tutors who work with our students have both a thorough knowledge of the opportunities open to these students, and the sensitivity to support them through the realization of these opportunities.

Currently our students are working within the industry therefore I am taking this opportunity to ask some of our staff to introduce themselves to you. This month Shane Plowright and Tom Wall have written a short account of their experiences to date.

Shane Plowright, Lecturer in Agriculture (Mechanisation)

I am a former Agriculture student at Bridgwater College. I studied the Certificate in Higher Education in Agricultural Management before becoming a part of the staff team at Rodway Farm.

This year, my first full year as a lecturer, has flown by. Previous to this role I was a mechanisation instructor and tractor driver. I absolutely love my job as a lecturer; I get to use the skills I learnt throughout my education and incorporate them into my teaching practices. I teach a lot of mechanisation, including workshop fabrication skills and mechanisation field work. I feel it is important to teach students the skills needed for industry and I am very proud that we do that within the Agriculture curriculum at Bridgwater College.

Also this year I was given the opportunity to become a tutor to the second year Level 3 Mechanisation students. I have loved every minute of tutoring: I’ve seen them grow in confidence and learn new skills which will make them very employable in the future. I am very proud of them all and wish them the very best for the future. I am now looking forward to the next teaching year and meeting my new group of mechanisation students.

For now, I am looking forward to the summer break as I have a lot of vintage shows to attend with my very own David Brown Selectamatic 880.

Tom Wall, Multi-skilled Farm Worker/Practical Instructor

I went to school at The Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar. During my time at school, I used to keep my own sheep and help out on a local dairy farm at weekends and evenings. Once I left school, I completed my Agricultural Apprenticeship with Bridgwater College whilst continuing to work part-time on the same dairy farm.

Since completing my apprenticeship, I have continued to broaden my skills, including learning to shear sheep and was given the opportunity to work for a shearing contractor in Somerset before travelling to New Zealand to work and travel for the winter.

Now working as part of the Agriculture team at the College, my role enables me to help students learn practical skills and I can call on my own experiences to guide and inspire them. An added bonus for me is that I am still able to keep my own sheep, play rugby and help with young farmers.

Alan Johnson added,

“I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to Adrian and Ben for completing their diary over the past two years. We are all very proud of their achievements whist studying for their Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture and we wish them every success in the future.”

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