A Honiton poultry veterinary practice has won national recognition for its support of women in the industry.

Poultry Health Services (PHS) was awarded the Employer of the Year Award at the inaugural National Women in Agriculture Awards.

Headquartered in North Yorkshire, but with branches across the UK, including Honiton, PHS was celebrated for its commitment to enhancing women's roles within the agricultural sector.

Veterinary director, Dr Sara Perez, accepted the award on the firm's behalf at an esteemed black-tie event held at the House of Commons.

Joining PHS as a director in 2018, Ms Perez has been integral in promoting and developing the roles of women in a traditionally male-dominated sector.

Directing a workforce of 25 dedicated poultry vets, more than half of whom are women hailing from diverse backgrounds and nationalities.

The extensive veterinary practice’s additional sites include Edinburgh, Preston, Shrewsbury, Tarpoley, Sutton Bonington, Leominster and Hereford, plus laboratories in Scotland and Yorkshire.

An industry leader, PHS specialises in commercial poultry and game bird care, including diagnostic testing, and champions improved livestock health, and thus, food quality and safety.

PHS is known for its generous support of female vets returning to work after maternity leave.

Employing a variety of supportive strategies such as regular 'keeping in touch days', flexible and part-time working, and refresher clinical sessions.

Single mothers experiencing hardships can also access support from a specifically designed traction fund.

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The ambitious firm also offers a six-month internship programme for new poultry vets.

In addition to this, Ms Perez presides over regular development activities, reviewing clinical performance and cases alongside colleagues, who also regularly attend career fairs to inspire the next generation of poultry vets.

Ms Perez said: "I am delighted that our work and achievements to support women at Poultry Health Services have been recognised in these awards.

"Measures such as job sharing among the female members of our team have proven very successful as female employees can now retain their job, enjoy a good work-life balance and progress successful and fulfilling careers."

In 2021, Ms Perez was awarded the Manager of the Year title from VetPartners, the large veterinary group which PHS is affiliated with.

The National Women in Agriculture Awards were organised by Mark Allen Group, publisher of Farmers Weekly.

In total, 14 awards were bestowed, commemorating women in various fields of the sector, including sustainability, supply chain, rising stars and lifetime achievements.