Our newest building, the £1.4m Livestock Technology Centre, provides opportunities to use the latest developments in agritech in state-of-the-art facilities.
It could be helping with lambing, calving and farrowing, or using the high-tech Shearwell electronic tagging and ID systems to track live data in the Livestock Technology Centre.
There's a lot of work to be done around the rearing and selling of the production animals at the farm, including visiting local farmers and livestock markets; you'll be involved at every stage, gaining a better understanding of the whole process.
If countryside management is more your thing, gain the fundamentals behind undertaking wildlife surveys, setting up camera traps and pond dipping, and how to use estate maintenance equipment like strimmers and ride-on lawnmowers.
Dreaming bigger? Then learn how to drive tractors and hitch-up trailers or earn your chainsaw ticket for a future as a tree surgeon.
Ed possesses to two very different degrees – one in Ancient History from Warwick University, and a Graduate Diploma in Agriculture from the Royal Agricultural University.
His career has also been varied, including working as a teacher of Latin in Warwickshire, a barista, and as Assistant Farm Manager for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Ed joined the College during a time of restructuring at Common Leys Farm, where he took the post of Farm Manager. Away from work, Ed fills some of his spare time as a sheep farmer.
"I've had two main career ambitions in life, alongside farming on my own – to run a farm park and a college farm. I've been lucky to be able to do both, with the role at Common Leys Farm coming at just the right time.
There is endless variety at the Farm and always fresh challenges to face, with no two days ever the same! What I really enjoy most here is delivering practical, industry-specific instruction and looking after all the livestock we have on-site throughout the year.
It's no overstatement to say there's a special atmosphere at Common Leys Farm. It's a small campus, which means we can be more attentive to our students, rather than being lost within hundreds of others, and we can form our own community. There's a great camaraderie and spirit among the staff and students and we wouldn't have it any other way."
From school, Matt came to Common Leys as a student and completed the Level 3 Animal Management course and progressed to Reaseheath College (part of Chester University) to study the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Foundation degree.
He has worked at Cotswold Farm Park (alongside Adam Henson, who regularly appears on Countryfile) and was part of the animal display team that showed visitors around the farm. He then moved to another farm near Cirencester before coming to work at the College in 2015 as an Agriculture Technician & Instructor.
"Doing my AET and NVQ Assessor qualifications have helped me to plan and structure lessons and discover different methods of teaching and keeping students engaged, which I combine with the experience I've gained from working on farms.
My favourite thing about working at college is the level of enthusiasm from the students; the best part of the job is when you end up working with a really engaged group. Having the new Livestock Technology Centre has also been a massive benefit as we now have the most up-to-date technology and our resources meet industry standards, which is great for the students as it prepares them for the work place.
I also have a great working relationship with my manager Ed as we share a similar vision and ambition for how the farm should be run."
The National Farmers' Union (NFU), which represents 55,000 UK farmers, has set a target of net-zero emissions in British farming by 2040.
Common Leys Farm is home to a range of rare breeds, including Whitebred Shorthorn cattle and Large White pigs.
At our annual Lambing Sunday event in March 2019, we welcomed over 1,000 members of the public to our campus!
Chipping Norton School
I really enjoy the practical side of the course, such as working with the animals and doing my chainsaw license, which will give me more employment opportunities, like working on a large estate.
The tutors here are really supportive, and I feel like I'm doing the subject I most enjoy now rather than school, where I was doing subjects I didn't like.
I've applied for an apprenticeship at Blenheim Palace and see my career developing in the animal industry.
I really enjoyed my time at Abingdon & Witney College. To start with, the tutors were really helpful if you ever had any problems with certain parts of the course, supporting you to overcome challenges.
It's also a great course to work alongside new people with the same interests. It produced a great team atmosphere, where we all helped each other to look after the animals.
If I had a favourite part of the course, it was definitely having the chance to learn about and gain practical experience with the different livestock on-site, especially the rare breeds.
The challenges the course brings are brilliant! Every day that I'm at the farm, there is something new to learn or a problem that needs a solution. Having to think on your feet opens up a lot more opportunities to try different things.
The College and the course were highly recommended to me by several friends. Agriculture is my passion and is great to be working in these brilliant facilities.
Agriculture Research Officer
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School Leaver EFCM113P
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School Leaver EFCM109P
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