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Meet our Agriculture Teachers

Macauley and Emily with a Jersey Cow

Macauley Parkin and Emily Smith with a Jersey Cow at our Wigfield Farm campus.

Are you thinking about studying Agriculture with us? Meet Macauley Parkin and Emily Smith the staff who teach the course; learn about their careers and why they chose to teach at our Wigfield Farm campus.


Tell us about your education and career to date.

Macauley: I was a student at Barnsley College University Centre and completed the HNC/HND in Animal Management. While I was studying, I worked part-time in the Land-based department as a support member of staff. After graduating, I continued working part-time alongside my teaching qualification. After a few years of part-time teaching, whilst working as a part-time Farm Worker, I took a full-time teaching position at the College. I’ve now been teaching for almost 10 years at the College and progressed onto Course Leader for Agriculture, Horticulture and the Level 1 and Level 2 Animal Care Practical Courses.

Emily: Throughout my career, I’ve blended my passion for wildlife conservation and agriculture. I earned my Level 4 in Countryside Management at Askham Bryan College, then started with seasonal work on a dairy farm in Scotland. I worked for conservation organisations, including the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and did seasonal ecological surveys while pursuing a BSc (Hons) Animal Conservation Science at the University of Cumbria. After gaining experience in estate management on the Isle of Skye, I returned home to Barnsley and started my teacher training, which led to teaching roles in Further and Higher Education. I also continue to work seasonally on local farms during lambing and shearing seasons.


What do you enjoy most about teaching at Wigfield Farm?

Macauley: I enjoy teaching because all the students want to work with animals, and I love seeing their development from their first day to the end of the year. I also love the large range of livestock species, from poultry with our rare breed chickens, ducks and geese, to our sheep, goats, pigs and cattle.

Emily: I enjoy sharing my passion with students and seeing students immerse themselves in hands-on learning, develop practical skills, and grow in confidence is incredibly fulfilling. I love how the dynamic environment at Wigfield Farm allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations to build their confidence in their abilities in a safe and supportive environment.


Why did you choose to teach at Wigfield Farm?

Macauley: The College’s Land-based department stood out for having the best facilities compared to other colleges because they have their own working farm with a range of animals, which is constantly expanding. I am also from the area and wanted to work at the College I had studied at myself.

Emily: I chose to teach at Barnsley College because I’m proud to be from Barnsley and being local, I feel a strong connection to the community and the College’s mission to contribute to this area’s growth and development. Wigfield Farm offers a fantastic environment for personal growth and professional development, especially having the opportunity to work with such a diverse range of animals.


Why did you decide to teach Agriculture?

Macauley: I have a passion for farming and the skills and knowledge that goes along with it. I have always enjoyed working with students and passing the skills I have learnt to them so they can go on to university or into industry.

Emily: Teaching Agriculture and Animal Care was a natural choice for me because I thoroughly enjoy working with animals, especially livestock. It is incredibly rewarding to educate others about sustainable farming methods that not only ensure food security but also protect biodiversity and our natural environment, whilst also nurturing the students’ practical skills working hands-on with livestock.


Would you recommend the Agriculture courses to potential students?

Macauley: I highly recommend both our Level 2 Agriculture and Level 3 Agriculture courses. Our Level 2 course focuses on developing practical and wider skills essential for the Level 3 programme. In Level 3, students delve deeper into industry applications, including visits to large-scale beef and dairy farms, auction houses for rare breed livestock, and hands-on tractor driving experiences.

Emily: I would wholeheartedly recommend our course to students, regardless of their background or prior experience. As someone who didn’t come from a farming background myself, I understand the initial hesitation some might have about joining a course like this. However, I have seen first hand how our program equips students with vital skills and qualities needed in the agricultural sector. Our course provides hands-on training, expert guidance, and opportunities to develop essential skills that are valued in this industry.


Are you inspired by the stories of our Agriculture staff? Apply to study Agriculture at our Wigfield Farm campus. For more information visit the department page or contact the Information Team by emailing info@barnsley.ac.uk or calling 01226 216 123.

Macauley Parkin with a pig and piglets at Wigfield Farm

Macauley Parkin with a pig and piglets at Wigfield Farm

Emily Smith with some of the sheep at Wigfield Farm.

Emily Smith with some of the sheep at Wigfield Farm.

Last updated: 17th June 2024

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