Freddie Lawder took part in the entrepreneurs course at Bridgwater College
OVERVIEW: Freddie Lawder; 28 years old; currently part of a joint farming venture in Wales.
Having grown up on a smallholding in Shropshire it wasn't until a year's placement from Aberystwyth University that Freddie found
his interest for dairy farming. After spending this year on an organic high yielding dairy farm in Shropshire he returned to finish his degree before travelling to New Zealand, to work for a year, where he got the grazing-based dairy farming bug.
“When I returned to the UK I took a job on an autumn calving farm in Hampshire, I was really lucky here as my boss encouraged me to do plenty of off-farm learning, of which the EID course was part of.
“He, like many other employers, recognised the value in employing staff who are keen to progress within the industry and helped me to earmark the courses which looked to have the most benefit in contributing to the progression of my career.”
There are certain elements of working day to day on a dairy farm that can make it difficult for staff to pick up particular, more office-based, skills and the idea of running courses such as the EID programme is to fill this skills gap and increase knowledge.
“I learnt a huge amount about the financial side of running a dairy farm, I'd had no experience on this side of things and the two days spent with Tony Evans were invaluable.
“EID gave me the confidence to have a crack at things like budgeting which had never really been on my radar. One of the other main points I took from it was the opportunity to network with other like-minded people who were in similar situations and stages of their careers.”
Part of the 15 strong 2016 course at Bridgwater, Freddie goes on to say that the best piece of information he took from the programme was becoming familiar with spreadsheets and seeing what an annual budget or cash flow actually looked like.
“For someone, like myself, who isn't comfortable with that side of things it can be very daunting trying to create a budget from scratch without a good template to start from is overwhelming – I'm now much more equipped and have used these skills in moving my career forward to where I am now.
“Since completing the course I have entered into a joint venture on a spring calving farm in West Wales and as a limited company I am engaged in a contract farming agreement where I can invest and grow my own capital whilst I manage the enterprise.”