Edward Thomas Jones
In 2018, well-known Anglesey-born academic and part-time farmer Dr Edward Thomas Jones, decided to apply for a place on Farming Connect’s flagship personal development programme, the Agri Academy, an experience he describes as ‘unique and life-enhancing’.
Alongside life as a Lecturer in Economics at Bangor University, a role which has involved Dr Jones (41) advising both UK and Welsh governments on a wide range of projects and initiatives, he lives and farms part-time on his family’s beef and sheep farm on Anglesey. Upon returning to live on the farm, he also renovated his great-grandparents’ farmhouse, becoming the fourth generation to live there.
So why did he feel the need to develop his career further?
“Because I knew that participating in such a unique personal development programme would expose me to the decision-making process and policy makers tasked with determining the future of agriculture and the rural economy in Wales,” says Dr Jones.
His CV was already impressive, having attained a BA in Economics and Mathematics, a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance and a PhD in Economics. He has held various senior management positions within the banking industry and has professional qualifications from the Chartered Management Institute and the Royal Statistical Society.
Yet Dr Jones credits his experience as an alumni of the Agri Academy with giving him both the confidence and skills to play a greater role in the industry he is so passionate about and to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship. Not surprisingly, his Nuffield application was successful at the first attempt and had it not been for Covid-19, which scuppered his chances of a research visit to America and Europe last year, he would by now be well on the way to completing his dissertation on innovation and technology in agriculture.
Why this topic? Again, he credits the Agri Academy with setting him on a path of discovery, professional development and perhaps most importantly of meeting new friends and mentors, many of whom he remains in touch with on a regular basis. They helped him with his application!
“In 2018, together with my cohort of Academy candidates, we met many inspirational and influential individuals in Wales, in the UK and in Brussels. We had the opportunity of attending meetings in the ‘corridors of power’ as ministers and policy gurus gave us their perspective on the future of the industry following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“It was a fascinating time to be at the sharp end and a privilege to meet so many knowledgeable people; from those at the helm of our industry to those working at grass roots level, and whose opinions and friendships I value to this day.
“The Agri Academy gave me the chance of a lifetime and I would advise anyone interested in the future of agriculture, our rural communities and the professionalisation of our industry to apply.”