Finalist for Zoetis/BPC Trainee Award

Finalists revealed for top training award

A top flight of entries for this year’s Zoetis/BPC Trainee Award has been whittled down to three finalists, one of whom will receive a £2,000 training grant and a £500 prize from Poultry World at the British Poultry Council’s annual awards, at the House of Commons on 5 December. Here, we profile the contenders.

Samantha Alexander, Heal Eggs, Shropshire

As a child, Samantha Alexander had a passion for animals and when she was 16 she took an egg collecting job advertised in the local shop in Maybole, near Ayr. Three years later she moved on to work with cattle and sheep. “This was valuable experience, but it was here that I came to realise my passion for poultry and animal welfare,” she recalls.

In 2010 she started work with Glenrath Farms and at their Blythbank Farm – the largest free range farm in Europe – where she ran a 32,000-bird unit for two years before moving to Heal Eggs in Shropshire.

At this time the company had 119,000 free-range birds over four sites and a colony site of 120,000. “It was here that I started to learn the processes and protocols for running salmonella testing and audits, as well as the paperwork requirements for Lion compliance, Freedom Foods and also self auditing,” she said.

When in 2014 an aviary pullet rearing unit was built, Samantha was appointed to manage it. “Under her guidance we have consistently produced flock after flock, some of the finest pullets I’ve ever seen which has in turn had a significant impact on our egg laying performance,” says Tony Heal, managing director of Heal Farms.

“Sam’s desire to learn and develop sets her apart from others in this profession, and she has the ability and drive to become a leading manager in this industry and a key asset to our business.”

After 15 years in the poultry industry Samantha retains all her initial enthusiasm: “I’m very passionate about the inner depths of bird behaviour, biology, nutrition and welfare. This is why I’d like to go on to study for a MSc in Applied Poultry Science with SRUC, that would greatly benefit both myself and the company as we look to expand.


“Sam shows a great deal of pride in running her unit. Sam is very technical with high standards and is very interested in poultry science. She will progress to be a sought-after and respected manager in the industry.”

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