There’s always room for improvement – perhaps a rather cliché phrase but nonetheless a sentiment I strongly agree with. This was partly the reason behind my attendance on the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists John Deere Training Award at the beginning of July.
Previously working in a legal background, I was challenged to learn a new way of writing after joining Pinstone in May last year and although my writing style has developed throughout this time, there is always capacity to improve.
The course, which ran from Sunday to Tuesday, was attended by many like-minded aspiring writers with a passion for the agricultural sector. We engaged in several intense training sessions led by training consultant David Mascord, with guest speakers, Ben Briggs from Farmers Guardian and freelancer, Tim Relf, providing some really insightful sessions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would urge anyone starting out in their career as an agricultural PR consultant or journalist to apply for the opportunity. Below are my key take homes I have gleamed from participating in external training.
Building confidence and networking
Confidence is something I’d like to say I don’t lack, but the truth is, I do – especially when it comes to networking. Putting yourself out there in a room of people you’ve never met before can be nerve-wracking, but it’s such a vital part of the industry we work in.
External training provides the opportunity to practice and develop your networking skills with people who are more than likely feeling exactly the same!
It’s also worth remembering that building connections is so valuable for your career. Meeting new people can provide you with new perspectives and contacts to support you in your role as you progress through your career,
Learning the agricultural industry
For me, taking every opportunity to immerse yourself in the agricultural industry is essential. You can learn so much from just being there, in the moment, and being a part of the hustle and bustle. This applies to trade events too – get yourself out there and amongst it, you’ll be surprised how much you learn without realising!
For example, agricultural machinery is not a topic I am overly clued up on – it’s hard to get a look in when there’s boys about the farm at home!
So, being able to visit the John Deere HQ, ask the team questions and even test drive an 8R 410 with a Joskin Euroliner slurry tanker on the back has provided me with some invaluable experience which I wouldn’t have picked up without attending the course.
Knowledge consolidation and personal development
The sessions covered during the John Deere training included interviewing skills, understanding the difference between news writing and feature writing and a sneak peek into the world of PR – something I’m all too familiar with!
And although the training gave me an insight into the world of being a journalist, it’s also reassuring to consolidate your existing knowledge. I learnt a lot during the John Deere training course, but also realised that I know much more than I originally thought. For me, this realisation has supported me to trust in my ability, build my self-belief and approach every task with a ‘can-do’ attitude.