In the last of our Sector Spotlight on Land-based industries, we hear from Ann Scott, who is the Secretary of the Orkney Agricultural Society (OAS). The OAS Committee are responsible for the organising and running of the County Show, as well as the County Ploughing Match and Harvest Home.
Ann works part-time for the Orkney Business Ring as a Training Co-ordinator, alongside her voluntary position as Secretary.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Secretary to the Orkney Agricultural Society?
This is not my main job so I do the show work at nights and weekends. It all starts in January with the AGM where the judges are nominated for the County Show. In February we hold the annual ploughing match and in August we have the County Show, so I do lots of work between January and August. After the show I have a little rest before organising the Harvest Home where winners from the County Show collect their prizes and trophies.
How did you end up in this role?
I grew up on a farm and have worked in the Agriculture sector for most of my working life, I saw the job in the paper and felt very suited to the role so I applied. I also really enjoy doing paperwork so it seemed like the perfect combination for me.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is looking out of the pavilion door at 4pm on show day and seeing all of the happy faces and having a sigh of relief that everything went well.
What is the worst thing about your job?
I don’t think there is anything I don’t like.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
One of the main skills I need in this job is to be very organised. I have deadlines to meet and things need to be done by certain times so if I’m not organised, the whole thing can fall to pieces.
I work with the public a lot in this role and so you really need to have good communication skills. You also need to be a good listener and at times not take things to heart.
There are 25 of us in the committee so working as part of a team is essential. We hold meetings throughout the year to ensure all parts of the various events run smoothly.
What qualifications do you have?
I left school with seven Standard Grades and went to Orkney College where I gained a GSVQ 2 in Care and an SVQ 2 in Care. I worked for a time in a residential home as a Carer and have done home care throughout the years.
I then had a change to office work which is where I have spent the majority of my career, and whilst working I undertook an HNC in Rural Business Management, distance learning, as a mature student. I would recommend doing that to anyone. We met up three times a year with other students too.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I would definitely recommend this job. It is great to be part of a great team putting on a fantastic yearly event which showcases Orkney’s finest produce.
The County Show will be held in the Bignold Park, Kirkwall tomorrow (Saturday 10 August 2019).
Visit the Orkney Agricultural Society on: