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Auctioneering course proves firm choice for popular livestock mart

Posted 18 March 2014

Livestock Market Operations and Management student, Will Alexander

The livestock auctioneering course at Harper Adams University has proven so popular with one firm that they have encouraged three of their staff to complete the training.

North West Auctions, which runs auction marts in Kendal and Lancaster, has recruited from the university in Shropshire for many years. Now employees are boosting their qualifications further by enrolling on the Livestock Market Operations and Management course.

Bill Nelson and Matthew Probert have already completed the training, and recent Harper Adams BSc (Hons) Agriculture graduate Will Alexander is currently in his first year.

Despite the firm regularly recruiting Harper Adams graduates, it is the first formal training that 56-year-old Bill from Carlisle has completed since leaving school aged 15.

Livestock Manager, Bill, said: “I chose to enrol on the course to broaden my knowledge of the auction system and to qualify for fellow membership of the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA).

“For me, highlights of the course were the Financial Analysis module with Jane Headley and also the network of fellow auctioneers that you build by attending the course.

“I now have the confidence in my own abilities to go forward in the industry.”

The Livestock Market Operations and Management course is aimed at aspiring auctioneers, animal health officers and other qualifying persons. To be considered for the programme, students must be working in the industry and be supported by their employer, as they will need to draw on workplace experience.

North West Auctions is a team of auctioneers, chartered surveyors and agricultural business experts.  Fieldsman, Will Alexander from Lancaster, was encouraged to enrol on the course by his manager, Bill. 23-year-old Will who joined the firm last June, said: “I chose to do the course following my degree to further my education and career.

“I have always been a ‘people person’ with a strong interest in all aspects of farming and livestock. After my placement year of milking 200 cows, I realised that I wanted to work with people, so my job as an auctioneer fits both the people-side and livestock-side.

“Juggling course work and a full time job is hard and getting back into the swing of assignments after becoming accustomed to a full time job isn’t easy. But Bill is understanding, having been through the course himself so he knows what’s required and needed of both employer and employee.

“The course will have endless benefits and will be a real bonus to my career.”

As well as being a Harper Adams course lecturer, Mark Simcock is an active livestock auctioneer in North Staffordshire.

He said: “We now have in the region of 40 practising livestock auctioneers enrolled on the four-year programme at Harper Adams with 11 of those students hopefully graduating this year. 

“Our programme aims to do a number of things.  Firstly to provide a course that encourages the students to explore and appreciate the impact that the external business environment can have on their business, which takes them beyond their day-to-day roles of procuring and selling livestock.  It also aims to provide them with the skills to progress their career within the industry through to the higher levels of management and representation within their livestock auctioneering firms.

“The investment that NWA Ltd and other livestock auctioneering companies are making in their livestock auctioneering staff illustrates a commitment by the industry to its future and Harper Adams is very glad to be part of that process.”

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