Angle grinding and welding are skills I never thought I would ever need to pick up, writes 21-year-old Young Farmer Hazel Stansfield.
But if you’re super-competitive like me, and someone challenges you to a metalwork competition, then you throw yourself into it!
YFC has such a varied competitions programme, there are all kinds of opportunities to pick up new skills that you might never have thought about before.
I didn’t grow up on a farm and I don’t even live in a very rural location, but I’ve been to national finals in stockjudging competitions and can hold my own with anyone in a debate about pigs!
But it’s not all agriculturally themed competitions – there’s cookery, tug of war, dancing, panto for example – and of the 33 competitions on offer I don’t think there are many that I don’t enter!
And you get to learn something from each one.
Some of the skills that you pick up could prove useful in later life – but that’s not the point. I might never need to use a welding set ever again. But I learned how to do it. And being part of YFC has given me the mindset that you can learn anything if you put your mind to it.
There are lots of opportunities to pick up new skills in YFC outside of the competitions programme. But I just love to compete – and when my younger brother and sister get involved too, then that gives it an extra spark!
You learn by doing. My friend Louise Hartley, who was a member of our club and a journalist with the Farmers Guardian, died from cancer a couple of years ago. So we thought a great way to commemorate her was to have a big tractor run.
My brother started organising it and then I got involved, doing pre-booking, organising wristbands on the day, making sure everyone who was supposed to be there was there, sorting out officials to mark out the route, insurance, disclaimers, posters, banners… it was such a big thing to organise and we did it all from scratch.
In the end, around 70 tractors entered and we raised well over £2,000. All the local villagers came out and supported us – it was a really good day.
But that’s YFC. You want to do something and you do it. It has been a huge help to me in my career too. I’m an Insurance Adviser with NFU Mutual.
They told me after the interview that having YFC on my CV and talking about what it had given me made me stand out.
Before joining YFC I was shy and struggled to talk to new people. Now I talk to anyone – it has brought me out as a person because of the support you get from the other members.