The 2017 NFU Poultry Industry Programme (PIP), supported by monogastric feed producer ABN, begins this month.

The 16 successful applicants for the annual scheme will be involved in a range of activities designed to broaden their exposure to the industry, including a trip to the European Parliament; leadership and media training and a group project. Applications to the scheme rose by over 20% this year, with the final cohort drawn from all sectors of the poultry sector including poultrymeat and egg producers, vets and industry representatives.

Danny Johnson, national sales manager at ABN, says: “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.

“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.

“This year, we have also taken a lead from feedback gathered from previous cohorts. Many of our candidates are running businesses with sizeable and diverse workforces, 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.

“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. 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.”

Candidate Charles Roe comments: “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.”