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SIXTEEN applicants from across the poultry industry have been selected to be part of the third NFU Poultry Industry Programme (PIP), in conjunction with ABN. This year’s cohort has been selected from a record number of applicants, an increase of over 20% on 2015.

The successful candidates will start in September, and span the whole industry including egg and poultry farmers, industry representatives and vets.

Danny Johnson, ABN’s national sales manager, explains that each of the candidates has been selected based on their own merit.

“With so many applications this year, we felt that, for the first time, we needed to run an interview process.

“We were looking for a range of characteristics, but most importantly we wanted a group who were committed and enthusiastic to play a bigger part in the poultry industry, and willing to take their knowledge to the next level.”

Representing the feed industry, Tom Glen, performance analyst at ABN explains, “The programme offers us a unique chance to meet new people and gain a valuable network within the industry that would usually take a whole career to achieve without the help of the programme.”

NFU PIP candidate Charles Roe explains, “We’re a relatively small-scale layers business so I recognise that we need to do everything we can to maximise our margins, aiming to be at the top 5-10% of the industry for output. I believe that taking part in the NFU PIP will help us better achieve this goal.”

This year will see the candidates involved in a number of activities designed to broaden their exposure to the industry and help them on their way to becoming leaders within the poultry sector.

The events range from a trip to the EU parliament in Brussels as well as Westminster, to new leadership and media training and a group project.

“We’re constantly trying to evolve the programme to keep it relevant to the sector, while maintaining the core principles of what has made it so popular. Providing a broad overview of the industry is essential, but giving the candidates an insight into new industry ideas and challenges is equally important,” explains Mr Johnson.

“This year, we have also taken a lead from feedback gathered from previous cohorts. Many of our candidates are running businesses with a sizeable and diverse workforce, but have no formal leadership training.

“We’ve therefore added a management and leadership training session to the programme this year, and hope that this new session will help to develop the skills to help individuals better manage their businesses,” says Mr Johnson.

“Overall, the NFU PIP programme continues to go from strength to strength, offering the candidates a great opportunity to learn new skills, meet like-minded people within the industry and have some fun while doing it,“ he says.

“ABN’s continued support of the programme demonstrates our passion for the development of young people, and our commitment to work with the industry to attract talent into the poultry sector.”