Spotlight on former DART apprentice Emily Topham

For National Apprenticeship Week we are celebrating our apprentices and their successes and where they are now in their career. Emily Topham a former DART apprentice, who studied Level 3 and 4 mixed agriculture with us in 2016-2019 tells us about her apprenticeship experience!

So Emily, tell me about yourself.

“I went to the Farm on work experience from school, aged 14  and loved it and never left! Outside of work, I enjoy young farmers club, choir, baking, crafting and crochet and spending time with friends when possible.”

Why did you want to do an apprenticeship?

I had originally hoped to go to Reaseheath college full time to do a foundation degree in Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management- but after discussing with George Case about following up level 3, we decided between us that especially in this sector of work, people want to hire workers who have proved they can work in a workplace, around other adults, getting up every day and keeping yourself motivated. With coming from a non-farming background, it was also a fantastic way for me to gain experience that a lot of other students already had and meant I could learn almost everything on the job.

Are you still with your employer and what are you doing now?

I still work for Hawksworth farmers, I can’t see myself doing anything else! I have a great job there, working for a very kind and understanding family. I now also have a relief milking job at weekends which I have been at for nearly 2 ½ years. All the  skills I needed to know for my second job were what I had learned on my apprenticeship.

What are your aspirations?

I am enjoying what I am doing now so don’t have any plans to change job any time soon, but as far as working is now, I am enjoying helping to improve the herd fertility. I have learnt to Inseminate cows and am the only employee who can do this so, for me this is my own project. I decide what bulls cows will be served with and when they will be served, and I also do the two weekly routine vet visit where we look at cows post calving, preparing them for serving and also cows that have been served, ultrasound scanning the uterus to see if the animals are pregnant. Getting cows calving again within 365 days is the optimum and I am enjoying improving our current figures, saving us money and time and which also increases production.

What was being an apprentice like?

An apprenticeship gives you the freedom to learn on the job, which often can teach you 10x more than you can pick up from a classroom. You earn money at the same time as studying and with being an employee; you can also choose holidays instead of them being determined for you. They are rewarding in the fact you are gaining a reputation at work which you will take forward with you when you progress in the future.

What qualifications did you gain?

As well as completing all my courses, I was also sent on numerous courses through the work place, which were all opened up to me through DART and my employers. These include: AI Training, Category B+E (Trailer test), Calf rearing (From Birth to weaning), Transporting animals Certificate, Training on Sheep shearing and so many more!

What was the highlight of your apprenticeship?

I think actually completing my courses was the best. Boring I know, but knowing that I had proved I could do it (after not doing so well at school) and feeling achievement, particularly in a sector I had once known nothing about: also the fact that my employer had wanted to keep me on meant so much to me and made me feel even more confident that others believed in me and knew how much I had learnt.

If you could recommend an apprenticeship to somebody would you?

Definitely, you only need to see what I have achieved through doing them to see what others can gain too.

We are very proud of Emily and her achievements! We wish you all the best in your career Emily!

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