These bright young Harper Adams alumni have jump-started their careers by taking advantage of work placements and networking opportunities.
Will Lea, FdSc Agriculture alumnus, is an advocate for networking in the world of agriculture.
After graduating in 2017, Will took up every opportunity to make connections. His work placement contributed further to his degree studies which he called "the opportunity of a lifetime".
Will commented, "When I enrolled at Harper Adams University in 2014, it soon became clear that the contacts available through the university are second to none.
Having these connections has enabled me to further my passion of agriculture thanks to the university."
The opportunity to take a placement during the third year of study was one of the main things that attracted Will to the course.
Working with Cargill Meats Europe (now known as Avara Foods), Will explored all aspects of the business through the supply chain.
There, he gained valuable experience from production and management systems on farms all the way to the end product and consumer demands.
He explained how the placement opened his eyes to "valuable business insight". This gave him the "opportunity to fast track [his] career through the networks available which would otherwise take years to reach".
"You should never worry about the failures in life, only worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try."
Following on from this, Will was approached by Country Fresh Pullets, a sister company to Lloyds Animal Feeds. He secured a graduate role as Rearing Production Manager and has since progressed to become an Audit Manager. Will’s role now covers around 130 poultry farms across the country.
Having worked for the company for two years, Will has now enrolled onto an NFU poultry scholarship to connect with other members of the industry.
Will hopes the opportunity will expose him to more contacts to work with on the current challenges facing the sector.
By networking through his time at university, Will opened doors to a variety of different opportunities.
Investing time at careers fairs and outward networking has meant Will has gone on to achieve his ambitions while continuing to strive for more.
He advises students to live by his motto: "You should never worry about the failures in life, only worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try."
Elizabeth Tree is a recent recipient of the John Langford Award and the latest member of the Young Butchers branch of The Worshipful Company of Butchers.
A 2nd year BSc Agriculture student, Liz is an advocate for a career in agriculture despite her non-farming roots.
Growing up in Croydon Liz’s interest in farming began on her Welsh holiday at thirteen years of age.
She found a farmer lambing and asked to get involved. Showing an aptitude for the task at hand, Liz has returned year on year to the farm.
Starting out working up from the basic tasks of putting out feed, through to driving the tractors, Liz is now given the responsibility to run projects on the farm herself from start to finish.
Along with this, Liz also gained farming experience offering to work in exchange for the keep of her horse.
She developed a working relationship with the farmer and discovered he was a Harper graduate who directed her interest to the institution.
This changed everything for Liz as she realised; "networking is the absolute key - communication has opened the doors to so many experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had".
Now in her second year, Liz has already made amazing headway in extracurricular activities alongside her studies.
Liz now holds a weekend job on a 2000 pig indoor reading unit and holds a membership with the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Scholars.
She has successfully secured a placement year with a British Poultry Council Scholarship at Avara Foods.
It is no surprise then that she was recognised for the John Langford Award which is given to those who identify their weaknesses and implement changes to excel through their Skills for the Agricultural Professional module.
Following this award, Liz is continuing her professional development as a member of the Young Butchers Society.
Alongside postgraduate student John Hunt, the pair attend networking events to discuss the importance of butchers and the meat industry with fellow associates.
Liz commented: "Joining has given me some amazing opportunities and I’ve met lots of great contacts.
Coming from London into farming, especially as a woman, has been difficult at times. But I’ve built some foundational relationships that have helped me achieve a great deal.
By working as hard as you can and giving 110%, anything is possible if you want it badly enough."
As part of National Careers Week #ThisIsAgriculture showcases agriculture at the cutting edge of modern technology and at the forefront of innovations in key areas, such as IT, forensics, engineering, automation and design.
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