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Placement Awards 2017 - students honoured for outstanding performance

Posted 22 May

"They go out as students and return as young professionals with a drive and ambition for their future career which is admirable and infectious."

Agrovista winner Helen Brown

Agrovista winner Helen Brown

The 2017 Placement Awards ceremony took place at Harper Adams University on Friday, with 17 final year students honoured. 

Aspire Awards, which recognise excellent personal development planning, were presented to nine students representing a range of subjects. 

Announcing the winners, Agriculture Placement Manager & Senior Lecturer Dr Andy Brooks said: "All students complete a career management assignment after their placement, which includes the need to carefully reflect on their placement year and put together a clear development plan for their future career – in the short, medium and long term.

"I’m sure many seasoned professionals amongst us, myself included, would find this a challenging exercise, but being able to think strategically and critically about the direction of one’s career is really important. Every year our students impress us with the vision and maturity that they bring to this work and this is what the Aspire award is all about. We will make one for each course area, which includes one for each of the BSc and FdSc Agriculture courses given their cohort size."

The Aspire winners are: 

  • Food courses: Ashley Ramsey
  • Foundation Agriculture: Sophia Walker
  • BSc Agriculture: Gemma Gibson
  • Veterinary Physiotherapy: Steph Green
  • Animals: Kelly Hoodless
  • REALM: Guy Wilson
  • Business: Rowena Minney
  • Countryside: Georgina Stretch
  • Engineering: Daniel Markham

The Buccleuch Estates prize, for Rural Enterprise and Land Management (REALM) placement student of the year, was awarded to Andrew Heywood. 

Winner of the Axworthy Cup and Robin Faccenda Prize was engineering student Lizzie Thornley. Event host and agriculture Placement Manager Terry Pickthall explained: "This is presented in recognition of both excellent academic and practical work on placement. Faccenda have a long association with Harper Adams, with their founder Robin a proud alumni and great supporter of the University. Their support of the construction of our Faccenda centre revolutionised our facilities for providing student support. They offer a wealth of placements and scholarships as well as working with our academic staff on research projects. Our winner, rather fittingly, and I hasten to add, coincidentally, spent her placement year with Faccenda at their Brackley site, working as a Principal Engineer."

The NatWest Award, for the best foundation agriculture student placement performance, honoured three finalists, Daniel Liddell, David Rees and Alex Stephen. First place went to Daniel, a mature student who worked on placement for A&M Turney and Sons in Warwickshire. David was awarded second place and Alex third. Daniel received his prize from Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture and Renewable Energy at NatWest. Before presenting the prizes, Mr Burrow took the opportunity to talk about NatWest's Harvesting the Future report, to which Harper Adams student contributed and which highlights the challenges facing engagement of the best young people in the agriculture with the sector's key influencers both in industry and in government. 

The event ended with the Agrovista Awards, which recognise the performance of BSc Agriculture students on placement. Tracey Winson, Head of HR at Agrovista congratulated the three finalists, Helen Brown, Gemma Gibson and Francesca Metherell. Unfortunately Gemma was unable to attend to collect second prize. Francesca collected third, while Helen was revealed as the winner, following her highly successful year with Hutchinsons, one of the UK’s largest providers of agronomy and other specialist farm services.

Terry Pickthall, concluding the awards, said: "To our sponsors, your support is much appreciated. To our employers, we simply couldn’t do what we do without you. To parents, we hope you share our pride and joy in witnessing the journey our students go through on placement. It is not easy, but they go out as students and return as young professionals with a drive and ambition for their future career which is admirable and infectious."

Look out for profiles of all winners and runners-up, coming soon on our new Student Success blog