2023 Learning Extension Days

by Duncan Couper

Posted on Fri, Oct 13, 2023 2:28 PM

2023 Learning Extension Days

The Worshipful Company of Farmers Alumni Association (WCFA) Committee have developed the 2023 Learning Extension Day (and a half!) to be held on Tuesday 28th November at Burleigh Court, on the Loughborough University campus and continuing on Wednesday 29th November at the Holywell Park Conference Centre - a short walk from Burleigh Court. 

The purpose of the Alumni Learning Extension Days (LED) is to:

- offer an opportunity to alumni of WCF courses to continue to expand their knowledge of modern business management techniques

- provide further opportunities for alumni to think beyond their day to day agricultural business activities for the long-term benefit of themselves and their businesses

- aid alumni networking across all WCF courses and years

- provide access to mentoring and support for those seeking help with specific business and/or leadership challenges

An interactive event with many opportunities for group discussion, the LED is being developed to stretch your minds and continue to help advance alumni to meet the future challenges of UK agri-businesses and turn as many of those as possible to opportunities.



28th November - registration from 14:00 - Burleigh Court 

Session #1 - "Getting to know you all" - our speed networking event - will commence at 14:30. After a tea/coffee break our session #2 will commence at 16:30 "Riding the rollercoaster: the highs, lows and occasional loop-the-loops of farming with depression" presented by Will Evans, Chair of 2024 Oxford Farming Conference.

Pre-dinner drinks reception will take place between 18:45-19:30 followed by the WCFA LED Dinner. The 2023 after-dinner speaker is Edmund Thornhill of Thornhill Estates - with land holdings in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire*.

All the events on 28th will be at Burleigh Court; please reserve accommodation**.

29th November - with registration from 8:15am for those joining on second day - Holywell Park

At 08:00 many will take a walk and talk for #walkwithme for a half hour trip around the campus. Following breakfast at Burleigh Court, the day events will take place in the nearby Holywell Park. 

The day will start at 9:00am with session #3, Christine Tacon CBE‚ will be our keynote speaker. Christine, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farmers, is well known in the industry, is the Chair of Assured Food Standards who operate the Red Tractor Assurance scheme; Chair MDS Limited, the training provider for graduates in the fresh food and produce industry and Chair of the BBC Rural Affairs Committee. The presentation will allow her to describe her career, the wins‚ pitfalls and tie it into the subject of people via the current role at MDS for developing future leaders.

The 2023 LED continues with these three topics:

"Leading teams" Colonel Marcus Evans, commanding officer for Future Army - based at Army HQ, Andover.

"Making sense of myself & others" John Borland, author, podcaster and coach - who is on a mission to empower individuals.

"The positive impacts of psychological safety and radical candour at work" Paula Coffey, Director of Claims, Rehabilitation & Medical Services for Unum - the UK's leading employee benefits provider.

Following the streams, session #7 will divert away from the usual panel debate; this year the Committee will be running a focused alumni group participation on "the use of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture".

With feedback, an education update and closing remarks we will finish approximately at 17:45.


The 2023 LED will be open to WCFA members and, from 1st September, also guests of alumni members. The numbers for this event are limited and will be allocated on a "first come first served" basis.

* = please advise Duncan directly of any dietary requirements via duncan@farmerslivery.org.uk

** = to book your accommodation at Loughborough: £140.85 (B&B) at Burleigh Court, or alternatively £90.00 (B&B) at the nearby Link Hotel. Hotel accommodation to be reserved by contacting the team at Loughborough on 01509 211515 or info@welcometoimago.com - quoting the reference number #857 for Burleigh Court or #993 for the Link Hotel

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