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How can networking help in the world of agriculture?

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13 January 2020

Will Lea, FdSc Agriculture alumnus, is an advocate for networking in the world of agriculture whose time at Harper Adams University gave him invaluable experiences. Graduating in 2017, Will took up every opportunity to make connections and work on placement to contribute 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 and opportunities available through the university are second to none. Having these connections has enabled me to further my passion of agriculture through the doors unlocked through the university."

One of Will's influencing factors of choosing to study at the university was our placement year, a path taken in the student's third year of study, aiming to expose them to the working world where their study is put into practice. Working with Cargill Meats Europe (now known as Avara Foods), Will explored all aspects of the business through the supply chain, including production and management systems on farms to the end product and consumer demands. He explained how the placement opened his eyes to "valuable business insight" which further gave him the "opportunity to fast track [his] career through the networks available which would otherwise take years to reach".

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, working his way to becoming Audit Manager, covering around 130 poultry farms across the country. Now having worked for the company for two years, Will has also enrolled onto an NFU poultry scholarship to connect with other members of the industry. He hopes the opportunity will expose him to more contacts with whom they can work to improve the current challenges facing the sector through parliamentary discussions and travel.

By networking through his time at university, Will opened doors to a variety of different opportunities. Investing time at careers fairs (link) 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."

To read more about how students are excelling in their networking opportunities, you can read about Liz Tree here.

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