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Gold and Bronze at the Pinnacle Awards

Posted 8 May 2007

Award winning students Abigail and David with Course Lecturer Tony Asson

Two students from, Shropshire-based, Harper Adams University College have been presented with Gold and Bronze awards at the prestigious Pinnacle Awards for Excellence in Business Management. Abigail Solomon, a BSc (Hons) Agriculture and Land and Farm Management student was announced as the Gold Award Winner at the 10th Annual Award Ceremony that took place at the Farmers Club, London on Friday 23rd April. David Hope, a BSc (Hons) Agriculture student was awarded the Bronze Award. Abigail is the first female to win the award.

Abigail and David were recommended and nominated by farm business management lecturer Tony Asson after completing a project whilst studying a module on Farm Diversification. The students at the UK’s leading provider of higher education for the rural and land-based industries were set the task of identifying diversification options for a local dairy farm at Hinstock. Both Abigail and David were short-listed to the final eight and were questioned by the judging panel for 25 minutes about their projects before presenting their business plans and initial research ideas to the judging panel, other short-listed students, college tutors, principals and sponsors.

The head of the judging panel, Professor John Prescott said that “The projects were an example of the innovative thinking that students entering agriculture needed to demonstrate. In an industry where there are considerable challenges to be faced, it is encouraging to see that students such as Abigail and David can identify practical opportunities for businesses to develop and enhance their profitability.”

Tony said “I was extremely impressed with the depth of market research into a number of potential diversification ideas in Abigail’s project from which she then selected to develop a range of traditional farm buildings into an on farm childrens nursery.” He continues to say that “David had carried out a thorough analysis of the existing business and then looked at a range of diversification enterprises to replace the loss of the sugar beet enterprise on the farm and was a very convincing piece of work.”

Harper Adams University College Principal, Professor Wynne Jones said “We are extremely proud of both Abigail and David’s winning achievements. Their commitment and ability will set them in very good stead towards their future careers.” He continues “Leaders in the agricultural and land-based industries should be very pleased that such high quality young people are leaving higher education and are seeking opportunities to take the industry, that is seeing major change and challenges, forward. The awards are also yet another example that demonstrates students from the University College are the best in the field.”

The national awards, which are sponsored by The Farmers Club, ADAS and the Cave Foundation and supported by the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, set a unique challenge for students to demonstrate their potential. Competitors had to demonstrate sound business management skills which are essential for securing a successful future in the rural economy.

Abigail, the Gold Award winner took centre stage when presented with the Nickerson Cup, commemorative certificate and prize winnings of £1,250. David, the Bronze winner was presented with a commemorative certificate and £400. The Pinnacle Awards also awarded the University College a matching sum of money that each student won. It is hoped that this prize money will be used to create an award for students studying agriculture who submit a piece of outstanding work in the subject area of farm business management

Abigail said “I am overwhelmed to receive this award, and although the interview and the presentations were nerve racking, it makes it all worthwhile and it will definitely enhance my CV! We are hoping that the award to the College can be used to encourage and reward the students submitting farm business management assignments and projects in the future.” David said “I am delighted to receive the bronze award - it was a fantastic experience at the Farmers Club. At the presentations I was impressed by the standard of work from all the Colleges and the variety of ideas and solutions we all came up with."

Both Abigail and David said “It is encouraging to know that we are getting quality tuition at Harper and our thanks go to Tony for his support and encouragement throughout this module.”

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