NFU Mutual and Scotland Food and Drink has announced three runners-up for its Inspirational Young Person.
The three runners-up in NFU Mutual and Scotland Food and Drink Inspirational Young Person Award have been announced today, with the overall winner being revealed next week.
The award is in its second year and has now selected the four strongest entries in 2019, who are being recognised for their dedication, talent and contribution to the food and drink industry.
Claire Strathern from Egglicious has been awarded second place runner-up, with the judges also awarding two special highly commended recognition prizes to Emma Harrison of The Biscuit Barn and Chloe Crighton of Duncan’s of Deeside.
The award, which was launched in 2018 as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, was designed recognise those between the ages of 16 and 26 who are helping the food and drink industry to innovate and thrive.
Runner-up, Claire Strathern, has been a vital part of the family business Egglicious since its birth. At aged 15, Claire asked for 15 hens. Over the years, this number grew to meet the demand for eggs in the local area. By age 18 she was up to 300 hens and the family business began selling in shops and restaurants. Egglicious now owns 10,000 egg laying hens and are still expanding.
Alongside Egglicious, Claire is heavily involved in volunteering with the Royal Highland Education Trust, doing talks and promoting the egg industry through various initiatives and activities.
As someone who lives with severe dyslexia, Claire has a passion for helping others with disabilities. She was also involved in the set-up of a small farm in an autistic unit where she would welcome the children to the farm to see the birds.
Claire said: ‘Considering all of this came from a hobby at age 15, I can’t believe I now have 10,000 chickens and run such an amazing agricultural business with my dad!’
Emma Harrison has spent the last two years building her business, The Biscuit Barn, starting straight after high school. She runs the business from the family home alongside her parents own business, making and selling different kinds of biscuits to local customers. Emma plans to continue growing the business with a goal to build her own kitchen in the near future, giving her the chance to create unique biscuits as well as teach classes and share her passion with others.
Emma said: ‘I am delighted to receive this award. My business has grown tremendously in the past six months and this award will help with my future plans.’
Chloe Crighton began working as an employee with Duncan’s of Deeside last year and instantly became a key person in the business. Starting in the role as Bakery Assistant, Chloe was quickly promoted to a shift Supervisor.
Chloe stepped in and built a strong core team around her while developing a ‘buddy’ system to ensure new starters were well supported in training. She says that this has resulted in a decrease in staff turnover, which has ultimately generated savings within the business.
Chloe said: ‘It’s not just me that has achieved this, it’s really the team who pull together each day to make it work, but I am truly honoured and delighted to have been nominated and recognised.’
Claire, Emma and Chloe were each presented with their prizes by NFU Mutual Agents from across Scotland – David Lyle, Keith Thom, and Gill Carnegie, with runner-up winner Claire receiving £300 prize money and Emma and Chloe receiving £100 each.
Martin Malone, regional ,anager Northern Ireland and Scotland with NFU Mutual, said: ‘This year saw more high level and quality entries demonstrating diversity, excellence and customers focus. There are so many dedicated, hard-working and inspiring young people currently working in the food and drink industry and NFU Mutual is delighted to work closely with so many fantastic food and drink businesses across the sector.
‘I would like to express a huge congratulations to all three of our runners-up both for their wins as part of this award and their business achievements. Well deserved!’
The NFU Mutual and Scotland Food and Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2019 entries comprised online submissions of up to 750 words from individuals between the ages of 16 and 26 who own, work, or study within a food and drink related business, organisation or institution. The winners each receive prize money.