Glynllifon campus has overcome obstacles posed by the pandemic recently by taking its much anticipated annual sheep shearing competition online for the very first time.
Every summer, Glynllifon holds a shearing competition for the college's agriculture students. The event sees two students awarded with the Machine Shearer of the Year -The Elgan Williams Memorial Cup, and one student awarded best Shearer of the Year.
The event is one that creates much excitement at the college and one which the students look forward to all year. Of course, as many events and mass gatherings planned for this year have had to be postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19, the competition could not go ahead in the same way as in previous years. Instead, the tutors at Glynllifon put their heads together to think of a safe way to hold the event so it could still bring much-needed relief and entertainment to the students during this difficult time.
With the help of modern technology, the students were able to compete against each other from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Following strict competition conditions, the students filmed themselves shearing and sent their entries to their tutors to judge who deserved the top spots. The judges received many entries from the students, who showed real enthusiasm and commitment to take part in the competition in whatever way they could.
After judging the students' skills and techniques in the videos, the winners were chosen and revealed to the competitors. Earning Machine Shearers of the Year were Tomos Clwyd Edwards from Denbigh and Sian Angharad Jerman from Carno. Both study BTEC L3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture at the Glynllifon campus. Farm and Forestry Manager at Glynllifon, Rhodri Owen, was thrilled with the online event and the students' achievements. He said,
The annual Shearing Competition is something the students really look forward to every summer, so it would have been a real shame for them to miss out entirely this year. Covid-19 certainly prevented us from holding the competition as we usually do, however, it also presented an opportunity for us to do something a bit different. Technology, something a lot of people don't fully associate with farming, was the main facilitator for this competition. We have welcomed modern technology at Glynllifon farm many times before and are advocates for the benefits it can bring. On this occasion, it allowed the students to carry on with the competition and, in doing so, continue their professional development, despite the inhibiting factors beyond our control. I am very proud of them and how they have adapted to these difficult situations, something all students at Glynllifon are encouraged to do!
The judges arranged for the students' awards and trophies to be presented to each of them at their homes. Both students received a shearing singlet from the college and they also received combs and cutters each that were kindly gifted by Wynnstay, GLlM would like to thank them for their generous donation.
Winning the Elgan Williams Memorial cup was Tomos, who has just completed his first year studying agriculture Level 3 BTEC at Coleg Glynllifon. A member of CFfI Nantglyn YFC, he follows in his Conwy Valley grandfather's footsteps. Commenting on winning one of the awards, he said,
I am delighted to have been awarded the Elgan Williams Shearing Cup,
The virtual competition this year, due to the Covid restrictions, meant you had to ensure someone filmed you shearing an ewe, then send the footage to the college for the judges to critique the work. Winning the award came as a surprise, but it has been made even more special as Elgan's family are close friends of mine and farm next door to us, here at Henllan.
For more information on agriculture courses available at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor visit www.gllm.ac.uk/agriculture or visit the website to find out the whole range of courses available at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, visit www.gllm.ac.uk