Student experiences

Drew Patrick on placement

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5 March 2014

Many Harper Adams students secure their first graduate job before they take their final exams, but Agriculture student Drew Patrick knew his immediate future was secure even earlier. “I have gained a graduate job at ABP after winning the company’s bursary” he told us just weeks after completing his placement year. “I will be learning everything about the business, from the day to day running of an abattoir to the managerial side of things.”

The ABP Food Group is one of Europe’s leading privately owned agribusiness companies. It is the UK and Ireland’s largest beef processor, and also operates substantial renewable, pet food and protein divisions. It employs more than 8,000 people at over 35 processing facilities around the world. The company’s graduate training programme aims to recruit talented graduates to become the future leaders of the organisation. Graduates experience all areas of the business over one to two years before choosing a final career path within the company.

Drew’s experience on placement, when he worked as a stockman for J&J Burnett Ltd, in Newark, no doubt appealed to his future employer. “I helped with the day to day running of the beef finishing unit. Being given responsibility to look after the farm and to buy cattle was great. I’ve increased my knowledge of the beef industry and gained a highly recognisable company’s name on my CV. The placement year was one of the best things about my course.

“I feel there is a huge future in the rural sector,” adds the 22-year-old, from Pembrokeshire, West Wales. “With the world’s population size increasing the need for more skilled agriculturalists will also increase.”

It is more than four years since Drew first visited Harper Adams and decided it was the place for him, and he hasn’t regretted the decision once. “I came to an open day and the campus and the facilities looked very professional and an excellent place to learn, with everything in one place from the labs to the farm.

“This place has the best social life you will ever find. The Harper Adams parties are renowned across the country, and for good reason. One of my favourite memories is our first summer ball and lasting the full 12 hours. Partying at 7 in the morning is a weird experience!”

A keen rugby player Drew is a member of the HAU rugby club and is playing for the 1st XV in his final year. He’s also an active member of the ever-popular Harper Cymru society for Welsh students, and earns extra money as a student ambassador. 

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