Harper Adams student Wilson McLeister took to the States for his placement year work, developing a new set of skills and life experiences. The agriculture and marketing student grew up on a dairy farm in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, but with a desire to learn more about poultry went to work alongside Aviagen.
Wilson gained this opportunity through winning the Aviagen British Poultry Council scholarship through the Harper Adams Development Trust. He commented: "For my placement year I worked at Aviagen, a global broiler breeder company. During this year, I worked on farms and hatcheries as well as attending meetings and conferences in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.
"Following this, in my last three months, I flew out to work with a team in America. Based in Elkmont, Alabama I enjoyed the American lifestyle and way of work although adjusting to the cultural and weather differences was an experience! Despite this, having been brought up in the countryside, I fitted in well in Elkmont - it was home away from home."
Wilson spoke about his working experience in Elkmont, saying: "I visited various dairy and beef farms during my time to further my knowledge. I was fortunate enough to help combine some of the wheat harvest on a John Deere s780 with a header width of 40 feet."
"This placement has helped my personal development, through improving upon my communication and management skills due to working with such an important and respect company. It has been a great insight into the business and all the various roles and responsibilities that come with working within the poultry industry."
With this travel experience, Wilson explained his postgraduate plans: "After I graduate, I plan to travel to New Zealand to work on a farm, then possibly another trip back to America before settling down into a graduate position within a company."
In looking to the next generation of Harper students, Wilson offered his advice: "The best advice I could give to future students would be to take every opportunity that presents itself and to try something new whilst at Harper, especially during your placement year. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and enjoy everything Harper has to offer, even outside of the library as time really does fly!"