Student experiences

Looking back: Rory’s time at Harper Adams

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16 November 2016

How did you discover Harper Adams?  

I came to the HAE two-day university taster in 2009 and found it really useful. It was really interesting to learn more about Harper Adams and spending the night in halls of residence for the first time was an experience! Some of the people I met there also started in 2010, so it was nice to see some familiar faces in Freshers’ Week! 

What were the best things about your course? 

  • The like-minded people I’ve met – I’ve made friends for life.
  • The variation between the different modules gives a much broader view and knowledge of the agriculture sector.
  • The placement year is an invaluable experience in industry, which has given me very useful contacts for life after Harper Adams. Placement also made me much more employable as it shows I had 15 months of real world working experience - not something many other university students can say!

What extra skills/knowledge did you gain?  

  • PA1, PA2 and PA6 spraying qualifications.
  • My report writing skill significantly developed.
  • General agricultural knowledge.
  • Most importantly crop agronomy and husbandry knowledge. 

What sort of university projects did you get involved in? 

  • Cereals Challenge 2014 - a very interesting experience of making real life agronomic recommendations on a crop of winter wheat.
  • For my dissertation I conducted field trials during placement with my employer, KWS UK. It was a research trial looking into the effects of various seed rates and plant growth regulators on current KWS UK winter wheat varieties. 

How would you describe Harper Adams? 

A university like no other. I can safely say I would not have the same memories, friends or experiences at any other university. Harper Adams is very unique in what it has to offer!

What did you think of the facilities? 

They’re rapidly growing - in my fours years at Harper Adams so much changed, with so many new developments and a much-improved campus. 

And the social life?  

Second to none! I’ve made like-minded friends for life! Having been to other university SU nights, the Harper bar is really in a league of its own, especially on a Wednesday night!

What are your favourite memories of uni? 

Again, Wednesday nights in the SU bar! And of course the four balls every year, especially the famous 12 hour Summer Balls! 

What are your favourite places in Shropshire? 

You can’t go to Harper Adams without a walk up the Wrekin, an amazing view!

Rory’s placement year

Where did you work whilst on placement? 

I was at KWS UK in Cambridgeshire for 15 months over the placement year. KWS UK is the UK’s leading plant breeding company, producing new crop varieties. I was a Scholarship Placement Student and my job was very varied. I gained experience in many different sections of the company, from breeding, trials and commercial. During harvest I was also responsible for managing a team of harvest students on a day to day basis.

What would you do in a typical day? 

It was very varied work, obviously affect by the season and what time of year it was.

What were the best things about placement?

  • Gaining industry experience
  • Making industry contacts
  • Gaining commercial experience
  • Learning how to cross-pollinate wheat
  • Developing my management and organisational skills
  • I’ve gained valuable contacts in the industry that I know will benefit me in my future career

Did you apply what you’d learned at university while you were on placement? 

It was clear to my employer that I has gained a good understanding of agriculture from Harper Adams, which allowed me to more readily understand what I was learning on placement.

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