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Resilient Farmers Conference Tuesday 21st May 2019

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23 May 2019

Jonathan Glen (MEng Agricultural Engineering), Lesley Plimbley and myself had the pleasure of attending this excellent conference, run by the Farm Safety Foundation (the organisation behind the very successful Yellow Wellies farm safety campaign) at the NFU head office near Stratford upon Avon. The event aimed to stimulate discussion around Farmers’ health and wellbeing and explore ideas for how a community of support can be more widely publicised in order to help those in the industry develop resilience to the challenges they face

There were presentations from a number of key stakeholders including Charlotte Smith from the BBC, Minette Batters (NFU President) and our very own Jonathan Glen.

Jonathan gave an excellent talk entitled “What the next generation of agricultural students need from education institutions”, explaining how his own journey in dealing with mental health has evolved through his work in the dairy industry and as an MEng student on a 5 year course at Harper Adams.

The discussions also highlighted the strength of support provided by the University through the student services team and within course teams as well as giving us ideas for how it could be further improved. Lesley and I hope to provide a session for all staff on supporting student resilience at the Learning & Teaching conference later this year.

We’d like to thank Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Foundation Manager, for inviting us and also for the wider support she has provided to the University, which included speaking to our outgoing Agriculture placement cohort on workplace safety earlier this month. Her talk also covered the importance of being able to speak to one another honestly and frankly about wellbeing and mental health, which Yellow Wellies are championing through their #MindYourHead campaign.

The conference highlighted to us all how simply talking about how we’re feeling can often be enough to help a colleague, friend or loved one understand how they may be able to deal with the challenges they face. This message applies not only to students on campus and those in the workplace but also to University staff.

Terry Pickthall

Agricultural Placement Manager and Lecturer.

 

 

 

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