Placement students

Pig placement Q&A

We asked our current pig placement student Holly some questions on her placement year. We thought these might be insightful when deciding on your placement choices or when writing your application form.

This ForFarmers scholarship is in partnership with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Why did you pick the ForFarmers scholarship and what do you like most about your job so far?

Coming from a ruminant background, I wanted to get involved in a different sector within agriculture. The ForFarmers scholarship allowed me to get involved in the pig industry, develop my interest in nutrition and to see the industry from a different perspective. 

Also, as someone without a clear plan for their future, the opportunity to work in many departments and gain a variety of skills would be invaluable for me! I am only a few weeks into my placement in which has been mostly introductions to ForFarmers and the various departments along with three weeks on a pig farm which was very informative. Already I am enjoying the variety of tasks I am being set and the support has been fantastic. 

What are you most looking forward to doing?

I struggle to pinpoint one thing that I am most looking forward to due to so much sounding exciting. But overall I would say I am most looking forward to being pushed out of my comfort zone, for example getting involved in Marketing and trials. 

How much time of the job is in office and how much is out on farms?

This is dependent on what’s going on within the pig team at the time, however throughout the year I will be getting involved in commercial and technical trials as well as potentially completing my placement project on farm. 

There is so much variety to the job it is difficult to describe an everyday routine. I will have project work and tasks that I will do every month for internal and external stakeholders as well as the usual office jobs like answering and sending emails, having calls and meetings with various staff and departments, and carrying out a variety of tasks. 

What was also great is given that I was not from a pig background I has three weeks working on a pig farm to gain greater understanding around the industry. There is ample opportunity to be on farm.

How does accommodation work whist on placement?

You have to find your own accommodation within the area, but the company offer advice on what areas to look at etc. There is plenty of placement students on different placements nearby so it is worth finding out who is nearby  that you can house-share with. When away with work, ForFarmers organise accommodation and transport. 

When preparing to move to ForFarmers for the year how much contact did you get from the company before you started?

I was very impressed with the contact between ForFarmers and me once I had been offered the job. Wes, whom runs the placement, continued to call me monthly from the point of being offered the job. I also got the chance to meet Wes again half way through the academic year to go through details like the contract.

There was also opportunities to meet the wider team by attending sales meetings and events in between my studies. However, Covid -19 restrictions resulted in these unable to happen, however, Wes continued to keep in contact and I got to meet some of the other staff on the phone too before starting.

Knowing some of the team pre-starting massively eased my nerves when I did start my placement. And the offer to get involved in the team before starting made me feel very welcome and appreciated.  My first two weeks with ForFarmers was also very helpful, consisting of lots of informative presentations on ForFarmers and the industry. It was a great chance to meet lots of staff too.