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Askham Bryan College’s new CEO and Principal rolls out future vision to stakeholders

Date: 6th December 2019

Askham Bryan College shared its draft five-year strategic vision yesterday at its first stakeholder’s event since the appointment of its new CEO and Principal Dr Tim Whitaker in October. The college invited feedback on its vision for students, staff and sustainability in terms of both what will be needed by students and employers in the future, and what will be needed in terms of global environmental challenges and national carbon neutrality targets.

At the event, the College also unveiled its new Digital Robotic Milker - a DeLaval Voluntary Milking System (VMS) V300, and improvements to the farm’s IT infrastructure, including the addition of Wi-Fi around the farm premises. It also opened its teaching block with two classrooms which houses the IT hardware that enables students to access the data being produced by the VMS. The Agriculture curriculum team is working to embed the new technology into taught programmes. The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP) funded the project by £430,590.

Askham Bryan College was also awarded £1.7 million through the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology (YHIOT) consortium; the consortium has been granted approximately £10 million of capital funding in total to invest in industry-standard equipment to provide higher-level technical training in Yorkshire. The College’s share will go towards new specialist beef production buildings and a dedicated teaching and learning space for delivering courses on Precision Livestock Farming (PLF). The project will provide a facility with high animal welfare at its heart whilst highlighting a combined, fully digitised approach to the rearing of beef cattle. This will allow students access to real-time data and enhanced, flexible, hands-on research opportunities. Data captured can then be viewed and used within the separate teaching space allowing continuous and applied learning. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in late spring 2020.

Dr Tim Whitaker, CEO and Principal, said “As one of the largest land-based colleges in the UK, it’s very important for us to take the lead in exercising and promoting sustainable practices.  It’s our responsibility to ensure there’s shared knowledge with those in our community and with our students. We’ve been fortunate to work with many industry partners, their products and their services which focus on and support environmental regeneration. However, we want to do more, and so it’s vital that we reach out to businesses and new partners, and that was the focus of our stakeholder event ‘Working for the future’.  Our new innovative developments on Westfield Farm are just a couple of examples of how we are using equipment that delivers more sustainable and efficient results. More than ever, we need to take accountable measures that will enable us to adapt to current and future-proofing practices that adhere to exceptional standards. With that in mind, we are grateful for the funding that makes these developments possible.”

Stewart McAlister, Product Solution Manager UK & IRE Automatic Milking & Automatic Feeding Systems said “We are delighted and privileged to have been given the opportunity to showcase one of the latest innovations in Automatic Milking Systems here at Askham Bryan College. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be given chance to help shape and educate the future of the industry in such a practical way. Using the latest technologies available focusing on the four main customer challenges across the agricultural industry Food Safety, Animal Welfare, Work Efficiency and Farm Profitability we can positively influence these in an effective and sustainable way. DeLaval would like to thank Askham Bryan College for this opportunity and hope we continue into the future with a growing partnership.”

Both projects, the robotic milker and livestock facilities, contribute to the overarching objective to digitally enhance Westfield Farm. The farm is used by the College as a learning resource and teaching space. The digital enhancements will allow live real-time data capture on the College farmed estate and the increased connectivity will also inform improved farm productivity and output.

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277