The AMTRA SQP prize winners were revealed this week during the SQP industry awards ceremony at the AHDA dinner, taking place alongside AHDA’s annual conference at the Hilton Metropole Hotel at Birmingham’s NEC.
Having claimed the highest scores in professional examinations over hundreds of their peers across the UK, the winners have been named as Robyn Brown of Moles Country Stores in Billingshurst, Nadia Leal of the Animal Medicine Chest at Flagg Court Pharmacy in South Shields, and Emma Woolgar of Pets at Home.
Collecting the Simon Fleet Cup and a cheque for £300, Robyn Brown has been recognised as the top all-species SQP. Although not from a farming background, Robyn has always had a strong passion for animals, and that steered her education and career path. Having achieved national diplomas in animal care and agriculture, Robyn has a degree in agriculture from Harper Adams University and is currently stock supervisor at the Billingshurst branch of Moles Country Stores in West Sussex.
Robyn said, “I think the most important aspect of my role as an SQP is patience and showing an active interest in the clients’ animal. In my short time as an SQP I’ve learnt that, on the whole, people just want to do the best for their animals – whether that be the dog they’ve just picked up from the rescue centre or the health of their flock of 1000 sheep.
“I also believe it is important to let people know that there is more to the medicine counter than just selling medicines. As an SQP with an agricultural degree, I feel I have lots to offer from health plans and FECs to grassland management and nutrition. I like to try to get people to think forward to the next season, recording benchmarks for themselves so that they can ultimately ‘help us to help them’.”
Concluding, Robyn feels that achieving SQP status has made her more of a ‘complete package’, commenting, “This is by far the most enjoyable part of my job. I enjoy an advisory role and hope it will open up more doorways into different experiences and career progression.”
Robyn enjoyed a double celebration as she was also named the winner of the AHDA Cup, sponsored by Elanco for the best overall student. She received the award from Elanco’s Gaynor Hillier. Robyn had earlier been presented with the all species SQP prize by Andrew Wylie of sponsors Zoetis.
Nadia Leal of Flagg Court Pharmacy in South Shields received the Battles Cup and a cheque for £150 as the winner of the best equine and companion-animal SQP award. Prior to becoming an SQP, Nadia worked with horses for eight years in a trekking centre, and has owned her own pony for nearly 15 years.
After moving back home to Jarrow from Northumberland, Nadia took on the role of medicine counter assistant, and while working in Flagg Court pharmacy she began studying to become an SQP. Day to day, she provides advice on animal medicines, mainly flea and worming treatments for cats and dogs, and wormers for horses, selling and advising on appropriate products.
Nadia said, “I wanted to become an SQP so I could get a better understanding of animal medicines myself, as well as being able to help other people.”
Nadia was presented with her award by Stephen Neale of sponsors Battles.
The winner of the AMTRA Cup for best companion animal SQP is Emma Woolgar of the Byker branch of Pets at Home in Newcastle. Unfortunately, Emma was unable to attend the event and the award was accepted on her behalf by Maria Wolens from Pets at Home. Geoffrey Guyot of sponsors Merial presented the award, and Emma will also receive a cheque for £300.
“I would like to congratulate Robyn, Nadia and Emma. We are delighted to recognise the achievements of these three outstanding students. It is testament to their dedication and hard-work and really reflects the commitment that we see across of all of the SQP students on our courses, as well as the businesses that support them.” says Stephen Dawson, AMTRA’s secretary general.
“They join almost 7,000 SQPs working across the equine, farming and companion animal sectors. These qualified professionals offer free and impartial advice on issues such as resistance, responsible use of wormers and other medicines, and general animal health and welfare.
“Through their professional advice on responsible use, SQPs support industry-wide efforts to keep animal medicines effective into the future,” concludes Mr Dawson.