Soon after graduating from Newcastle University with a degree in Animal Science, Kayley Barnes joined the AB Agri Commercial Graduate Scheme. We find out about her time on the 18 month scheme, especially the final six months with Premier Nutrition, before she joins AB Agri full time.

Q. How did you get into your current role?

A: I’d always wanted to work for an animal nutrition business, so when the commercial graduate opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance and was lucky enough to be offered the role.

Q. What are your day to day responsibilities?

A. The scheme consists of three six month placements, so I’ve had the opportunity to try my hand at lots of different skills. First of all, at ABN, I worked in the customer support team, alongside completing a series of projects across different business functions including health and safety, commercial data analysis and business responsibility.

Following on from ABN, I moved to AB Vista where I primarily fulfilled a technical and marketing role within the ruminant business. For the final placement, I’m now working on projects across the Premier Nutrition, Primary Diets and ASN businesses.

My main focus at Premier has been working on demonstrating the great job the business is continually doing in the business responsibility space. This is based on eight topical areas, including: sustainable nutrition, animal health and welfare, waste management and energy use. I’ve also been working closely with Premier’s equine team on a market research project.

Q. Have you taken part in any formal training?

A. Yes – there are ample opportunities for internal and external training courses. I’ve taken part in various sessions including negotiation, facilitation, resilience, communication and computer software, just to name a few.

Q. What’s your favourite part of the role?

A. I’ve really enjoyed being involved with the business responsibility work as it has given me the opportunity to discuss topical issues with a range of people at Premier, as well as gaining insight into their retrospective business functions.  The work I’ve done with the equine team at Premier has been particularly enjoyable too, as I’ve got a real passion for horses, so getting a further insight into the nutrition aspect of management is fascinating.

Q. If you had to pick one key stand out moment during the scheme, what would it be?

A. During my placement, I have travelled to AB Vista’s Madrid office and to the ASN site in Spain. Travelling internationally to support project work was something I didn’t expect to do during the graduate scheme. Having the opportunity to broaden my understanding of agricultural practices in different regions was a brilliant experience and one that I hope to expand upon in the future.

Q. What are your plans for the future within AB Agri?

A. My graduate scheme officially finishes at the end of March, but in the meantime, I’m hoping to present the final responsibility project findings to some of Premier’s customers. As of April, I’ll be joining AB Vista’s team in a full time position as ruminant and equine technical Manager, which I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into.

Kayley Barnes