YOUNG PERSON OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by More people
Recognising outstanding performance by fresh produce industry professionals aged 30 or under.
Emma Watson (G's)
Through 2017/18, Emma has taken control of the G's Salads innovation trials process. She has overhauled and strengthened the process, bringing rigour and transparency to the wider G's team, growers, seed partners and customers.
Prior to Emma’s appointment, the varietal development programme had become unruly and disparate, due to people and structure changes. This resulted in variable customer buy-in and criticism.
Emma has developed and delivered a structured programme which has resulted in enhanced forward innovation plans with strategic customers. This allows for greater planning with customer marketing teams and also with growers to support and ensure greater commercial success of new innovations. For 2018, G's have lined up some of the strongest innovation launches on special and different lines, for the UK season. Emma has also engaged with our winter season farms to bring 52-week continuity to the supply of some of the more unusual innovations.
Emma has taken responsibility for working with the seed houses to drive evolutionary product development and has worked extensively with the North American seed houses to build disease resistance packages that has allowed these seed varieties to successfully grow in the UK.
She has undertaken extensive work with the growers and seed houses to develop varieties that deliver improved yields, in turn driving sustainably of the crops. As salad prices have come under pressure in the market place this program has ensured G’s remain competitive in the market place.
ALISTAIR NEILL (Greenvale)
Alistair’s journey began as a summer student working for Greenvale to earn some extra money and that’s where he started to discover a passion for agronomy. Alistair’s dad works at Greenvale and has done so for more than 25 years which is how he originally got into the industry and who passed on his knowledge in the early days. Not fazed by the world of potatoes which Alistair describes as fast paced, ever changing and possessing more challenges and risk than most other agronomic sectors, Alistair somehow never left the company.
In just a few years with Greenvale, Alistair has completed his BASIS in Crop Protection, is a FACTS qualified advisor as well as being able to claim the prestigious accolade of AHDB Potatoes’ Next Generation graduate 2016/17.
Whilst it all started for Alistair as a summer student crop sampling, which progressed to Agronomy and Seed Assistant which morphed into trainee Agronomist and he is now a fully-fledged Agronomist aged just 24. Alistair’s career development to date has been quick and he is much further along in his career than he could ever of dreamt. Satisfaction in his roles include learning how crops and the environment interact and helping that relationship flourish.
Alistair enjoys evaluating the implications of decisions we make today and the significance of that decision in 1 month to 5 years’ time, wise words from someone so young. A fantastic agronomist providing a first class service and support to Growers and Greenvale.
Hannah Muskett (Berry Gardens)
Hannah Muskett should win Young Person of the Year as she has been instrumental in raising awareness of the fresh produce industry as a career path to all ages ranging from primary school through to further education and universities. Hannah did not have the benefit of working in fresh produce before joining BG. However, she has quickly gained an in-depth knowledge of the business and an understanding of our key drivers for success.
Whilst relatively young Hannah - through her innate abilities, talent and professionalism - has gained the respect of her colleagues and the business. She has driven a significant change in how local schools and colleges view the fresh produce industry. She has put together and delivered comprehensive workshops where in one college 91% rated their knowledge of the range of careers available in the food and grocery industry as ‘Good or Very Good’. Hannah has also been pivotal in a recent Farm Visit from a local primary school that combined with attendance at Careers Fairs shows her true dedication.
Hannah has also taken ownership of producing our recruitment literature, focussing on the correct medium and making it engaging for our target audience.
We all know the issues we currently face within the industry of raising the awareness and seeking those employees of the future to choose our industry. Hannah has made it her mission and should be commended for her passion and continued commitment to strive to make our industry stand out as a career of choice.
Harriet Fletcher (Rowe Farming)
Harriet grew up on an arable farm in the Cambridgeshire Fens, her grandparents farmed beef, pigs, sheep and arable and her grandfather worked for British Sugar. Farming and produce is in the blood! Working for Greenvale has given Harriet the opportunity to make every day at work about providing quality British produce and promoting the great work British farmers do.
Harriet joined Greenvale on the Graduate Development Programme in 2016. She spent her first year within marketing working on a number of group wide projects. Harriet delivered the redesign of the Produce Investments websites, developed the social media strategy for the group and completed a post graduate certificate in social media. Whilst working in the marketing department Harriet networked with journalists, bloggers, consumers and retailers delivering new and innovative campaigns including taking responsibility for a retail customers social media channels.
In 2017, Harriet moved on to two placements at our sister company Rowe Farming, based in Cornwall. Here she delivered Ethical and Environmental projects, including Zero Waste to landfill before moving onto completing a placement in the cut daffodil packhouse overseeing the day to day running of the business.
Harriet left the Graduate scheme a few months early but only to take up the position of Commercial Operations Manager within Rowe Farming, an opportunity well deserved and achieved through her own hard work. Now part of the management team, Harriet is well positioned to shape the future of not only potatoes but the daffodil sector too.
Nathan Edgar (Greenvale)
Although from an agricultural background Nathan had no connection to potatoes before joining the company, but in 3 years has learnt a huge amount.
Since starting in 2015, Nathan has gained numerous qualifications including levels 2 and 3 apprenticeships. It was whilst completing these qualifications that his impressive results and attitude made him stand out and be nominated for apprentice of the year in Scotland.
Nathan’s apprenticeship has spanned numerous jobs, starting as a team member on the factory floor, moving to intake, quality and IDT, learning how the factory actually operates, followed by food labelling and safety and eventually operating complex machinery.
After impressing his peers with his ability, Nathan was offered a role as Headland Manager at only 18 years old and was responsible for overseeing the planting operations. After a 6 month secondment to learn about the Greenvale seed business, Nathan applied for his current position as procurement field’s person and was accepted.
It is impressive how far Nathan has come in a short space of time but he is also a staunch ambassador of the wider industry too. Nathan has secured a place on the AHDB Next Generation Programme with only 15 places available in the UK. Nathan is the only person from Scotland on the Programme and only the 2nd from Greenvale. The accolade is a real achievement and puts him in a good place as he continues to deliver his passion and desire for shaping the future of Greenvale and the industry.
Sean Liddell (Greenvale)
With a family connection to Greenvale, potatoes seemed like the obvious choice for Sean Liddell as he decided upon a career post school. Sean’s dad works at Greenvale as a Raw Material Manager and it’s from here that his interest in the industry and agriculture in general was sparked.
An opportunity arose to join the company as a Fieldsman and Sean accepted this with enthusiasm. From this point onward Sean’s work ethic and thirst for knowledge was identified and soon he was working for Greenvale’s Own Growing business on the agronomy team. During his time in the Own Growing team, Sean completed his Basis in crop protection and became well placed to support our growers with their agronomy challenges. It’s the growing season that Sean relishes the most with the many challenges that the weather brings.
Subsequent to this role and through his own hard work Sean was promoted to the position of Procurement Manager and now plays a pivotal role in ensuring the continuous supply of high quality potatoes to the pack house in Scotland. With his combined agronomy and procurement skills Sean is set to positively impact the business and industry for years to come.