Following on from our successful scholarship presentation last week, we caught up with one of our latest scholars Harriet Drinkall to talk about her ambitions for her studies with the help of her scholarship. The food production with marketing student was awarded the Clyde Higgs scholarship after a successful placement year spent with Wensleydale Dairy Products Ltd and is looking to develop her learning further.
Of her scholarship Harriet commented: “I am so pleased to have received the Clyde Higgs Scholarship. My aim is to explore the cheese sector as I did in my placement year and further develop my knowledge and skill set.”
Harriet spoke about her placement year, saying: “During my third year I worked for Wensleydale Dairy Products Ltd in the Yorkshire Dales. My role was to support the marketing team and the commercial sales team; this showed me how a modern business functions over a calendar year. It brought to light how busy periods like Christmas alongside international cheese shows are managed successfully and efficiently, even in the most stressful times.
“I enjoyed learning how the milk was sourced locally from Yorkshire farmers and how this was worked through the supply chain logistics. Along with this, understanding the complex science behind commercial cheese, butter and yoghurt manufacturing, paired with the packaging techniques aimed at the consumers was really interesting.”
Harriet explained how vital the working experience was, saying: “This placement year really did broaden my horizons to the food industry as a whole. A few years ago I would never have imagined myself being involved in meetings with professional retail buyers; being involved in audits, and meeting suppliers of a company as well known as Wensleydale. After a year of being involved with Wensleydale, I feel that there are massive career opportunities for positive thinking people who also have strong knowledge of the practical side of farming.”
Looking to the future, Harriet said: “Following my final year at Harper, I have plans to travel to the USA and Canada, looking into how other creameries operate overseas and use different methods of cheese making and quality testing.”
Despite looking for new directions abroad, Harriet is still firmly rooted into her home farming life. She commented: “The UK dairy industry is still closest to my heart, being from a seventh-generation dairy farm in North Lancashire. The climate there is ideal for this type of farming where my family works hard to look after the 250 Pedigree Holstein Friesian cows and other youngstock.
“Before coming to Harper, I was already heavily involved in the family dairy and sheep farm at home and at the local livestock market. With all of this experience, I felt it was the ideal time in my life to develop my knowledge in the food system following the field to fork model. I knew Harper Adams would help me achieve this best.
“Not only does the establishment have a fantastic worldwide reputation but it also has unparalleled links within the food industry that are priceless, especially as I have aspirations in the future to work within the UK food sector. The Food Production and Marketing degree shows all sides of the food sector that are often invisible to the consumer food supply chain, and the clever marketing strategies that are used to sell the fantastic produce of the UK to consumers around the world.”
If you are as passionate about food as Harriet, join us on our open day, March 21, to talk to leading academic specialists who love food just as much! Whether you want to be part of the development process; understand the consumers needs or want to find the most delicious recipe, Harper Adams is the place to achieve this. You can register your interest below.