Livestock auctioneers graduate

The first group of students to complete a specialist livestock auctioneering qualification at Harper Adams University have graduated.

A special ceremony took place earlier this week to award the students with their Certificates of Higher Education in Professional Studies for Livestock Market Operations and Management.

The 11 students are the first to complete the course, having spent four years working towards the qualification whilst in full-time employment.

Associate Head of Department for Land Management at Harper Adams, and active livestock auctioneer in North Staffordshire, Mark Simcock, congratulated the students. He said: “This course does a number of things. It encourages 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.

“So as well as a wealth of personal experience working in livestock markets, these graduating students now have a wider range of skills that will serve them well to move on and progress in this great industry.

“They are in my view, a very employable commodity and should all be very proud of what they have achieved.”

Mr Simcock also championed the future of the livestock auctioneering industry, which sold more than £2.3 billion worth of livestock in 2013. This included more than £1 million store and breeding cattle and more than £3.5 million store and breeding sheep.

The ceremony welcomed representatives from the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) and the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland – both of which the course provides a route to membership. Current students and academic staff were also invited to join in with the celebrations.

Fellowships for the LAA and Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland were also awarded to the students, as part of the graduation ceremony.

Graduating student, 48-year-old Andrew Brown from Shifnal, said: “To graduate is such an achievement and it feels fantastic.

“The course has been enjoyable and I have learnt a lot. I’d definitely recommend the course to anyone in the industry. Just persevere, stick at it and it will happen.”

To conclude the ceremony, special prizes were awarded to two students. Jonny Dymond received the LAA Gavel for the top graduating LAA student, and William Alexander received the Dick Harrison Trust plaque for the top first year student.

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.

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