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Work experience

Work experience can give you confidence and a competitive edge when academic entry requirements have been met. It also helps you to decide if the course you have chosen to study is the right one for you and that it confirms your career aspirations and expectations.

If you are applying for an Animals, Engineering, Zoology, Food, Business or Wildlife course, work experience is very useful and will enhance your application, but is not compulsory.

For applicants of Land and Property Management courses a minimum of one week in a rural chartered surveyors or land agent prior to starting the course, would be particularly beneficial, but is not essential.

If you are planning to study Agriculture, Veterinary Nursing or Veterinary Physiotherapy, you’ll need some more detailed work experience to support your application. We will send you the required forms to complete and return once your application has satisfied the initial screening criteria. Please note if you are applying for deferred entry, your work experience must be completed in the cycle in which you apply.

If you don't have enough relevant work experience, the additional amount required may be added as part of a conditional offer.

Work experience is essential to study:

Agriculture

Agriculture applicants are required to have a minimum of 10 weeks practical experience on a commercial farm by 1st August in the cycle in which they apply for the course. This can be part-time work, accumulated over weekends and vacations, and does not have to be completed as a 10 week block & can be carried out on the home farm if applicable. Practical experience must be evidenced by a vocational log detailing the work experience & supported by an employer’s signature. If you are struggling to achieve this we can help. Our Access to Agriculture route gives students from non-farming backgrounds the chance to build their experience during their first year of study.

Acceptable types of experience: The most appropriate experience is on a commercial farm, which can either be a family farm or one local to you. It is important to try to get as much variety of experience as possible, including working 'hands on' with different types of animals and crops. Work experience in ancillary industries such as agricultural trials, laboratory work, feed mills etc. is useful and credit will be applied for this, but at least 60 per cent of the required work experience must be on a farm.

Further information: As agriculture is a vocational subject it is important to become familiar with the practical aspects of farming before starting the course and gaining practical experience will help with this as well as ensuring that you have a good feel for the industry you are planning to enter. Gaining a variety of experience is extremely useful and as much of this experience as possible should be hands-on. If you gain experience away from a home farm it is a good idea to obtain independent references as these may be useful when applying for placement opportunities later in the course.

It is recognised that applicants from non-farming backgrounds and particularly those from non-rural areas may find it challenging to obtain the necessary commercial farm experience. A good starting point would be to contact the local Young Farmers Club for advice on contacts in your area, approach the local NFU Office, place an advert in Farmers Weekly or other agricultural publications or online job boards, write prospective letters to farms in your area, or approach local agricultural colleges with a farm attached.

Veterinary Nursing
 
 

Please note our work experience requirements apply equally to all applicants and exceptions cannot be made. Work experience must be completed within the same application cycle and if an applicant chooses to defer their entry,  a "gap year" cannot be used to gain the required experience to meet the conditons of any offer.

For the 2023 application cycle we have reviewed our work experience requirements following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions as follows:  A minimum of 4 weeks work experience carried out since September 2021, is required. This should comprise at least 2 weeks (10 days) in veterinary practice (preferably 5 days of this should be in a block) and the remainder in an animal related placement. Ideally some of this work experience should be completed prior to application. 

What constitutes a 'week'? 35 hours (in a block or separate, however must cover different times of the day to experience different client types)

Acceptable types of experience: 10 days must be within a small animal veterinary practice. The experience does not need to be in an RCVS approved training practice, although this would be beneficial.

Examples of alternative animal related placements may include: livestock farm, stables or livery yard, wildlife centre, zoo, dog training school, groomers, dog day care, rescue or boarding kennels/cattery, experience in a hydrotherapy unit or rehabilitation centre, time spent working alongside a veterinary physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath, time spent in a large animal/equine/farm veterinary practice.

For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date. This is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.

Further information: It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each veterinary practice attended. 

The RCVS has a website facility called Find a Vet which can be used to find practices based on a postcode search. When contacting veterinary practices to enquire about a work experience place, it is important to stress that you are applying to study Veterinary Nursing at degree level at University and that it is an entry requirement for the course. This should give you priority over those wanting general work experience while at school. It is best to write or email in the first instance, then follow up with a phone call. It is important to show enthusiasm and be persistent, but without pestering!

Veterinary Physiotherapy

Please note our work experience requirements apply equally to all applicants and exceptions cannot be made. Work experience must be completed within the same application cycle and if an applicant chooses to defer their entry,  a "gap year" cannot be used to gain the required experience to meet the conditons of any offer.

You will need a minimum of four weeks' relevant work experience completed by July in the cycle in which you apply.

A minimum of 4 weeks hands-on work experience with dogs and horses is required (two weeks with each), carried out since September 2021 and supported by references. Applicants who are made an offer must provide evidence of their experience by July of the application cycle. Work experience can be gained across several locations if necessary, and doesn’t have to be completed as a continuous block. Although useful, you are not required to see practice with a Veterinary Physiotherapist.

What constitutes a 'week'? 5 days (in a block or separate days) totalling 35 hours.

Acceptable types of experience: Hands-on experience with dogs and horses is required, for example in a riding school, livery/competition/rehabilitation yard, commercial/hunt kennels, grooming parlours or a hydrotherapy centre. Time in the 'in-patient' area of a veterinary practice or with a veterinary physiotherapist/chiropractor/osteopath will also give a useful insight. Having sole responsibility for a horse can also count towards a proportion of the experience required. For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date (so if you were applying for September 2022 entry, we will not consider experience gained before September 2020. For the 2023 application cycle this must have been carried out since September 2021); this is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.

Further information: It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each placement on letter headed paper.

While the area of veterinary physiotherapy is quite specialised, it may seem hard to find work experience, however, we accept a wide range of experience provided that it is hands-on with animals. NAVP has a list of members who may be able to help with some experience however, bear in mind that these are often small businesses and may not have the capacity to help, partly due to insurance restrictions. It is important to do some research when applying for experience and ensure you explain what your career aspirations are and to stress that it is part of a university course application.

Contact us

Admissions
Faccenda (Student Centre)
+44 (0)1952 81 5000

admissions@harper-adams.ac.uk

No other courses have compulsory work experience requirements, but bear in mind that work experience always gives you confidence and a competitive edge when academic requirements have already been met or exceeded. It will also be helpful when on course as you can apply what you have learnt during work experience to your theoretical studies and view learning from a different perspective.

We understand that securing suitable work experience may be a daunting prospect, especially if you do not have any contacts within your course area. We also understand that it may be difficult to get the variety of experience required. However, please note that we ensure that all applicants have the same levels of work experience in each course area, as experience has taught us that students perform better on their course and during their placement year if they have practical experience which they can relate to and take examples from.

We recommend that you collate information and references in relation to your work experience and build up a portfolio to demonstrate what you have done. We would advise all applicants, where possible, to obtain references on letter headed paper at the point the experience is completed so you have a full record of the depth and breadth of experience obtained and to avoid having to contact experience employers retrospectively.

  

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