The Rich Wigram Farm Scholarship is currently open for applications for scholarships to travel to New Zealand in July 2019 to work in the dairy industry for a year. In this blog Mike Cluley gives a bit of a low down on the history of the scholarship, what it can offer and why he would encourage anybody to apply.
“The Scholarship is a charity that is very close to my heart. I was at Seale Hayne Agricultural College with Rich for 4 years in the late 1990’s. Like me, Rich spent a gap year in New Zealand and loved it so much he made a permanent return in 2004 where he started working up the dairy industry ladder from a lower order share milker through to an equity partner / share milker on an 850 cow farm only 5 years later. Sadly, Rich tragically died in a farm accident in 2010 aged a mere 34 and the Scholarship was subsequently set up in 2012 in his memory by friends and family who were keen to assist young people to experience to the benefits of working in NZ that Rich had done. The scholarship is funded by a number of farming businesses and through donations from many of Rich’s friends.”
“The Scholarship looks to assist at least two young people a year to go out to New Zealand to experience a year working in the NZ dairy industry. Successful applicants are awarded return flights to New Zealand, assistance with finding a position on a suitable farm and a mentor in NZ to turn to if you need help in case of any problems. Typically the positions last for the 10 months of the dairy season with the final 2 months used to travel about and take in the sights”.
“From a personal (and professional) point of view I can’t recommend enough the benefits of working abroad and especially in New Zealand. Like Rich, after my first visit to NZ to work on an 850 cow farm as part of my “Industry Placement” year whilst at Seale Hayne, I caught the NZ bug and returned again for two more year long stints on farms in subsequent years. This included working on a once a day milking trials farm and also managing a small (by NZ standards) 180 cow farm not to mention the seemingly endless travelling experiences available in NZ. The experience of working abroad has been invaluable to me in a number of ways from widening my knowledge of dairy farming and grass management practices through giving me plenty to talk to other farmers about some years later”.
If you are someone or know someone who this opportunity might suit then please get your applications in. The deadline for applications for 2019 travel is 31st January 2019 and further information is available from the scholarship website – http://www.richwigramnzscholarship.org.