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From facials to feathers

From facials to feathers

Career changer crowned Poultry Industry Trainee of the Year

Ingham’s employee Lauren Davies was a beauty therapist for seven and a half years before entering the world of poultry farming. Crowned the 2012 Poultry Industry Trainee of the Year by the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ) proves Lauren’s career change was an excellent decision. PIANZ award the title every year to recognise their top AgITO trainee. The award was ‘a total shock’ to Lauren but highlights her commitment and natural ability for her new career.

“The poultry industry is committed to industry training and the award is the industry’s way of recognising that. Lauren’s work on the course was outstanding and she is a very worthy winner,” Michael Brooks, PIANZ CEO, says.

While going from facials to feathers might sound like a major change of tact, animals and farming had always played a part of Lauren’s personal life. Living on a lifestyle block with a range of animals, and keeping chickens, meant she has a connection to the world of farming and a fondness towards animals.

Employed at the Ingham’s Rearing Farm in Matamata, Lauren believes it’s a passion for animals, and a passion for what she does that has led her to where she is today.

“I’m basically the 3IC at the farm, so I work very closely with our 2IC and leading hand,” Lauren explains.

“I’m responsible for health and safety at the farm too.”

Completing her National Certificate in Poultry Husbandry (Level 3) was eye-opening for Lauren as she learnt the background to the business side of the farm and how it all fits together.

“It was a real lightbulb moment for me. I never really knew why things were done the way they were, and never really knew what management was thinking up in their office. Management decisions were filtered down to the staff but I never really knew ‘why.’ The AgITO course gave me a deeper understanding on why things are done how they are. Everything just fell into place in my mind!”

Lauren believes the AgITO course meant she changed her attitudes towards her work – both towards her colleagues and the chickens.

“The course made me reassess why I do what I do. When you first start, you just do as you’re told. However, once I completed the course I started to see things for myself, and started making suggestions. I felt that I had the knowledge and confidence to change things. I believe it’s in this way you begin to take on more responsibility and move up in your role.”

In terms of her career goals, Lauren is very interested in the National Certificate in Poultry Management (Level 4). The Level 4 course targets those with experience in the poultry industry but wish to progress towards a supervisory or managerial position. With the goal of eventually becoming a leading hand, Lauren is motivated to succeed in the industry.

Recommending the Level 3 husbandry course to others, Lauren says, “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it at all.”

AgITO Key Account Manager Marcus Weight concludes, “Lauren is a motivated and passionate trainee. We’re thrilled she’s won the Poultry Industry Trainee of the Year award, and commend her for building her knowledge and skills through training.”

To enrol or for more information about AgITO’s poultry qualifications, contact your local AgITO adviser on 0800 691 111 or see


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