Maisie Wildgoose's route into agriculture is a unique one, seeing her come from a non-farming background into studying her BSc Agriculture degree with us at Harper Adams.
Initially, Maisie had no intention of pursuing a career in agriculture. She explained: "When I was in Year 13, I had a place at Durham University for Sports Science, and two years ago I was studying nursing at Kings College London. However, neither of these felt right, and I wanted to do something in an industry where I felt that I could make a difference."
Maisie then decided she needed some time to reevaluate and try for a new career path. She commented: "In my time away from higher education, I lived on sheep and cattle stations across Australia and absolutely loved it - but I hadn't considered studying agriculture at all. I came home and was working on a dairy farm over summer when I decided that although I loved agriculture, there wasn’t enough progression in being a herdsperson. After looking at potential jobs such as a working in nutrition, or sales, I found that they all required a degree.
"I was looking online when I discovered that you could study agriculture at degree level. After speaking to a family friend, he said that Harper would be a fantastic choice with good resources, an onsite farm, and new innovative technology.
"Along with this, the most important factor for me was the employment rate - I didn't want to be the same as some of my friends who graduated without a job. I wanted my degree to be relevant for my future career path."
With all of this in mind, Maisie wanted to find out what her next steps would be to make her career in agriculture an achieveable reality. "I called up the application office at Harper and enquired about applying for the following year," she said, "and I was told there were places in clearing still. Within three days I had applied and accepted my place."
Now in her second year, Maisie offered her advice: "Don't be intimidated because you don’t own a farm or haven’t worked on a farm for your whole life. You can still achieve high grades with only some agricultural experience. There are always opportunities on the farm and chances to get out and try your hand at things.
"And, on the other hand, if you are from a farm, invite non-farm friends down for the weekends you go home. It’s a great way of making really strong friendships and great memories while teaching them all about how a different farm works."
Looking to the future, Maisie's aspirations are within the mechanical side of agriculture. She spoke about her career goals in line with the Agriculture Bill, saying: "The idea that healthy soil is a ‘public good’ will make my line of work really interesting. I am excited about the prospect of new kit that is designed to be more soil friendly, and the idea of swarm robotics."
Overall, Maisie is incredibly enthusiastic about her time so far at university and, although she was nervous about her background, this hasn't stopped her from achieving her goals. To find out more about studying agriculture with us, check out our course page here.