Farmer Gow's is registered with the Oxfordshire Work Experience Scheme.
The farm offers various work experience opportunities, depending on the age of the student.
The details below are not exhaustive – and with up to 20 changes to the farm routine each and every day, throughout the year - students first and foremost need to understand and appreciate the very unique work experience opportunities which we provide.
Students are interviewed prior to placements being offered.
Work Experience is expensive to provide - we therefore expect a huge commitment from students to achieve as near as possible balance between the learning opportunities provided and the work a student performs.
If you want to work with animals, the very first thing you need to understand and accept is that they need 24 hour/365 day a year care – so you need to be committed. We don’t keep students who can’t make a regular commitment.
Farmer Gow's is a private company providing public access to farming and the countryside. Our doors are open to the public for 358 days of the year - we therefore need to ensure that you work carefully and safely - with both our animals and our visitors.
We will teach you to ~
- listen carefully to instructions
- follow those instructions and
- provide feedback to senior staff on all elements of the task in hand
We will encourage you to ask questions – but also to make notes so that your questions come after a period of training, rather than constantly interrupting the training.
We will supervise you thoroughly until we are sure you can follow instructions correctly and accurately. As your confidence grows and your ability to correctly perform tasks improves we will start to 'step back' and allow you to grow in the level of responsibility we give you.
We will challenge you - and if you work hard and listen carefully - you will have a fantastic time. You will learn loads and loads and loads. You will meet many new people and learn to talk to them, work with them, and ask them for help.
And that's just in your first few weeks...
Age 14-16 years ~ Key Stage 4
We offer a 2-week work experience for students in years 10 and 11.
Students should apply by email, with brief details of their interests.
Every applicant is invited to spend a 1/2 day on the farm, to assess their suitability for a placement.
A placement is confirmed after the introduction day, by email.
Age 16-19 years ~ Key Stage 5
Students may apply for a work experience placement from age 15 years and thereby start at 16 years of age.
The farm provides ~
- 'hands on' practical and technical training to students interested in veterinary and animal careers
- contacts for further work experience opportunities with local farmers, businesses and government departments involved in the agricultural industry
- opportunities for paid work once a basic level of competence is achieved
- opportunities for paid work during school/college/university holidays
Depending on the background of the student we would normally expect ~
From age 15 years ~ Year 1 at Farmer Gow's
- January-March application to join the work experience programme. Student invited to spend a ½ day on the farm, working alongside an existing student, followed by a short interview with a senior member of staff.
- September ~ following a successful visit and interview, student begins a one-day per week work experience. Introduction to the farm's routines, learning about everyday feeding, watering, hygiene procedures, routine tasks, preparation of feeds for hand reared lambs and kids. You will assist with twice daily 'Meet the Animals' sessions.
- Mandatory – February ½ term holiday - a week’s work experience, either Sunday-Thursday or Tuesday-Saturday.
- Mandatory – Easter holidays - one week work experience during the school holiday - either Sunday-Thursday or Tuesday-Saturday. This is our busiest time of year so you will be working under pressure.
Holidays ~ please note ~
We expect students to take no more than 2-weeks off during the May-June exam period. This is hay making time - and understanding grass growing and harvesting is an incredibly important learning experience.
In line with statutory holidays students may take up to six weeks (i.e. 6 days) holiday per year – one of which days will be during the Christmas stand-down period.
- One day a week continues through the autumn and winter months. Most students arrange off-farm work experiences during the October school holidays.
- Early spring - students work with newborn/hand reared lambs and kids, refreshing/strengthening/practising Year 1 skills
- Students are set weekly subjects on a whole variety of agricultural subjects for presentation to staff the following weekend. This rapidly expands learning and awareness.
- Mandatory - February ½ term holiday, Sun-Thu or Tue-Sat – lambing will really begin to make sense – it’s a fantastic time of year. This year you may be able to assist with a lambing, you will certainly be iodine-ing newborn lambs and giving ewes and lambs heptivac injections. Injections, castration, foot trimming, ringing, record keeping, ordering feeds ... there is much to practice and new jobs to learn.
- Mandatory – Easter holidays - one week work experience during the school holiday - either Sunday-Thursday or Tuesday-Saturday. This is our busiest time of year so you will be working under pressure. You will be leading chick handling, egg collecting and egg boxing sessions.
- Customer service - you should be ready to start serving in the farm shop, welcoming visitors to the farm, helping them with chick handling - and serving them on the till. When you can do this, you will become a paid member of staff - if we have a vacancy. Working in the farm shop can only be undertaken when a student has sufficient knowledge from working on the farmyard. Visitors/customers have every imaginable questions and you need to be able to answer them with confidence and knowledge.
- You will be working with very young piglets, calves, lambs, kids, chicks, ducklings, turkey poults - and their adults.
- You will be ear tagging, worming, foot trimming, handling, feeding, moving – there’s never a dull moment at Farmer Gow’s.
- You will work with younger work experience students and with children on farm workshops – this will practice team leading skills
- Summer holidays - one week work experience (if required) on farm - or a week at another local farm/business. We will provide you with telephone numbers and a contact name.
- You will have a wealth of farm knowledge and handling experience on all the farm species - cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys.
- You will be able to lead small groups of visitors through Meet the Animals. You will be able to answer their questions confidently and accurately. These skills are particularly valuable for interviews with prospective employers/university
- You will understand the 20+ animal medicines we use each year to safeguard our animals; you will understand routine/seasonal tasks. You will be able to medicate - orally and by injection - our farm animals.
- You will be able to arrange other work experiences very easily - because you have reached a level of competence which will be useful to other farms and businesses. When you have passed your driving test - you will be able to join a high end dairy farm and enjoy learning about milking and the dairy industry - unless of course you have a parent willing and able to drive you to 4am milking.
Post School and on to University or other employment
- We will be very proud of you and want to know how you are getting on
- We will welcome you back for summer/Christmas/Easter work
- We will continue to support you - with references and contacts for further work experiences
The above is a basic description of the work experience opportunity available at Farmer Gow’s.
We expect a lot – but offer a lot in return.
If the relationship doesn’t develop well – it is normally due to a lack of commitment from the student. We will tell you and we will end the placement.
Finally (as if we haven't already said an awful lot) we ask you to sign up to the above - and if you are under 18 years of age we ask a parent/guardian to co-sign - so that we all know what has been agreed and what is expected.
We look forward to working with you.
By email to Sarah or Clara on ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Please attach a current CV and make sure you also include contact telephone number.
We look forward to hearing from you.