The scheme is open to students between 18 and 25 years of age who will be following a land based higher level course and who are a resident in Kent at the time of their application. The successful candidates are eligible for up to £1,000 per year and for up to three years of their course.
The society’s education committee decided to award the three scholarships from a total of 18 applications. Stuart Gibbons, the committee’s chairman, said: “The judging panel had a difficult decision. All three students chosen were very worthy applicants and the society was incredibly impressed with their maturity, ambition and plans for their future careers.”
The first award went to Jacob Taylor aged 19 from Maidstone, who was successful in gaining a place to study for a BSc in forest management at the University of Cumbria. At the panel interview, Jacob explained his passion for forestry and in particular the management and preservation of woodlands. Jacob hopes to work for an organisation such as the Forestry Commission or the Woodland Trust and would welcome opportunities to work abroad. The £1,000 award for 2016/2017 will be used to help fund his travel to and from Cumbria to Kent to continue his work with a number of local voluntary organisations.
During his interview Jacob said that he believes woodland and forests are one of the country’s most precious resources and provide a renewable building material, are home to most of the earth’s terrestrial species and provide the oxygen we breathe.
The second candidate Zac Scott started a BSc in agriculture at Harper Adams last month. Zac from Tunbridge Wells is 18 years old and sees this course as a first step to working in farm management with a view to owning his own farm in the future. He is going to use the £1,000 scholarship to help with his studies. The grant will allow him to devote more free time to study, rather than having to find part time work.
The third recipient of the society’s scholarship was 18 year old Philippa Bradley known to her friends as Pip. She has just started a BSc international equine and agricultural business management degree at the Royal Agricultural University.
Philippa, who has lived on a farm near Sandwich since the age of ten, explained her passion for horses to the judging panel. She would like to have a career in either agriculture or equine events management. She felt that the financial security provided by the £1,000 award each year would enable her to feel secure and motivate her to work to the best of her ability.
The society also awards the Hooson Award (£500) and the Lady Astor Award (£250). Both of these are awarded to young people studying in Kent to help further their studies in the rural sector.
Ruth Perry, the 2013 Hooson Award winner has gone on to achieve success this year at the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society’s youth development national final. Ruth competed alongside 15 finalists in the senior section and won first place and the chance of a world Angus study trip of her choosing.
Ruth, from Cranbrook in Kent, is 21 and attended High Weald Academy young farmers club and competed at the Kent County Show alongside the other Kent federation clubs. She has been showing Aberdeen Angus for a number of years for the Warrenho team of Rob Bishop and family and off the back of the knowledge gained started her own herd with the purchase of a Balmachie bred female in Stirling last year.