This year has seen the largest number of students to ever enrol on to agricultural courses at Bridgwater & Taunton College. This is part testimony to the support and development our staff offers them whilst at college, but also the opportunities our former students have secured for themselves once they have completed their education with us.
Our students are rewarded for the hard work, effort and determination they put into their course as well as the outstanding achievement and contribution they offer to the College and wider community. The opportunities presented to them are endless which definitely shows in the development of the employability skills they acquire as they progress into the world of work.
There are a number of students who stand out every year because they go above and beyond what is expected at college. All students are required to complete over 150 hours of work experience each year and local employers often comment on how much of a positive impact this has on the industry.
Read about what our students say below.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the first few weeks of college. I’ve learnt lots of new things, as well as building on my knowledge from the experience I gained at home. During our practical lessons we have developed our skills with sheep. We've docked their tails, scored and treated their feet. We have also been tractor driving; topping, ploughing and we have used the scraper tractor.
In the classroom we have explored all of the different aspects of agriculture, from Livestock Production to Soil Science, all of which has been very interesting. I have also had the opportunity to go to The Dairy Event, which was very interesting allowing me to see some of the new technology we may use in our future careers. We also saw some top quality dairy cattle, breeds such as Holsteins and Jerseys.
All in all, this first term has been very enjoyable and I am very keen to extend my learning about the industry.
This first month has gone well, assignments have been handed out and we are all starting to put our heads down to complete them. Our machinery practical lessons have been all about tillage and preparing a seed bed in the wake of the maize harvest. Autumn is well on its way and I’m already missing the summer as the days are drawing in. I spent last weekend helping to clear limbs blown down in the seasonal weather, a good stock of oak logs are now in the shed!
Back at home the floor is covered with apples and there is no surprise as to what fruit is in the crumble. The College flock have all been drenched and moved to clean pasture then they have just had their teaser rams taken in and out and are ready for tupping. We have also attended the Dairy Show at the Bath and West showground, it was very informative and I just love looking at the machinery. The food at the show was amazing, I tell you those Stilton sausages and beef steak didn't hang around long! Trying my best to be impartial and steer clear of political opinions I will say that the speakers had some very good points on how the dairy industry is in for a tough time with the milk prices and the prospect of leaving the EU.
During my time at college I have been keeping myself very busy, we have been topping maize stubble and ploughing afterwards, we were taught how to correctly set up a plough and create a nice straight line with an even take on each mole board. At work experience I have also have been topping, bedding up the cows with a straw chopper, feeding the cows and calves with a mixer wagon, clearing out sheds, also checking the sheep with the quad bike and feeding them barley and lamb pellets, and other various jobs there are to do on a farm. I have also managed to keep up with all my assignments that I will need to learn to progress in agriculture.
Year two of agricultural college begins! The term has started off with us being put into our groups depending on whether we are focusing our studies on Livestock or Mechanisation, of which I’ve chosen the later. This was a surprise to many, however I decided coming from a livestock background, that I should broaden my horizons and learn a very new topic to me, mechanisation!
The first few weeks have been busy for my group, with practical’s including bringing the maize in, and then working the ground in preparation for the next crop. Starting second year also marked the start of supervising duties. Everyone has settled into our theory lessons well, starting work on our new topics for the year. The next thing on my agenda is to start preparing my UCAS application for university to start next September!
Everyone in their second year has now completed their supervisory training for duties, where we will be put on a rota to supervise the first year students on their duties weeks.
Whilst I was doing duties supervision we had a Kuhn SPW 25 self-propelled TMR mixer on demonstration at the College. Watching that do the feeding was very interesting as it was a huge piece of kit.
In January we are going on a study trip which includes going to the JCB factory and the following day we will be heading to the machinery show LAMMA 2017 which should be really interesting and I am really looking forward to.
In our workshop practice we have just started welding which is quite challenging but each time we do it I will hopefully improve!
I look forward to what I will be getting involved in with the next months to come.
Since the last time I have written I have been up to a lot of things at College and at home. We have done all our maize at home started hedge trimming and we are starting to prepare the cubicle sheds for the cows to come back in. I have successfully completed my supervisory training.
College has a Khun Feeder on demo which has been really interesting to see. The maize harvest has been completed by the students which has been a really interesting experience. The College have now got a Hereford bull, this will help with replacement heifer heat detection.
If you would like to know more about studying Agriculture at Bridgwater & Taunton College’s Cannington Centre please call 01278 441234.