Lucky eight make finals of new Landskills East Awards

EIGHT of the region’s training successes have made it the finals of a new regional awards event.

The inaugural Landskills East awards are set to take place at Jimmy’s Farm, Wherstead, Ipswich, on Thursday.

The final eight are made up of individuals, businesses and training providers who were whittled down from a shortlist of nearly 20 after nominations for each of the four categories - Individual, Small Business, Industry or Lard Company and Most Progressive Delivery Partner - were received from throughout the eastern region.

A winner and highly commended award will be presented for each category at the ceremony, which will be a celebration of all of the people who work so hard to improve skills within land-based and rural business economies.

Landskills East, which is funded by the Rural Development Programme for England, aims to provide rural businesses with improved access to skills and training courses.

The evening will also see the launch of the all new LandSkills East Autumn and Winter programme, which offers an extensive range of courses for rural industries and micro enterprise across East Anglia.

Guests will be given a guided farm walk, led by farm manager David Finkle, followed by a dinner and ceremony. Guest speaker on the night will be Caroline Drummond, chief executive of Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF).

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The judging panel for the shortlist was made up of four industry chairs, Philip Bradshaw, of the Arable and Horticulture Skills Group, Guy Smith, of the New Entrants and Leadership Skills Group, Gary Stokes, of the Food, Diversification and Rural Crafts Skills Group and Andrew Charlton, of the Business Management and International Trade Skills Group.

Celebrating their success at reaching the final stage of the award in the Individual‟ category are Oliver Hipwell, a farm labourer who joined his father in the family firm, A. J. Hart & Sons, and Sam Steggles, who founded Fielding Cottage, producing goat’s‟ cheese. In the Small Business‟ category, the two finalists are Piggy Green Limited, and Allpress Farms Ltd, a family farm based in Cambridgeshire.

The finalists in the Industry or Large Company Award‟ is BQP, one of the largest pig production companies in the UK, and Sentry, market leader in land management.

Meanwhile, hoping for successs in the Most Progressive Delivery Partner‟ category are Traineast and BPEX.