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How your placement year can lead to future success!

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26 February 2020

A placement year can be the perfect time to start working towards your future goals, as one of our students, Olivia Parkin discovered. The BSc (Hons) Agriculture final year student joined Agrimin, a manufacturer and distributor of trace elements, minerals, and specialist nutritional products, as a market intelligence analyst and is using the skills and knowledge she gained there to help inform her Honours Research Project.

Olivia explained her overall role as market intelligence analyst, saying: “I was in charge of looking at current and potential export markets and reporting on all of them. I’d have to find who the competitors were currently and then who they would be should we operate in new markets. Along with this, I was working with livestock data that informed what kind of products we would sell and new ones we would develop.”

While Olivia loved this role, she was also given the opportunity to work as a sales support manager. She explained: “The job role was vacant for about four month and gave me the perfect opportunity to try something new. In the job I went out to shows like The Royal Welsh and represented Agrimin when talking to potential customers. It was really interesting to balance the customer facing role against the analyst position.”

The work experience was fundamental for Oliva to realise precisely where she wanted to take her future studies and career. She commented: “I’ve always had an interest in nutrition, particularly regarding trace elements. This is primarily what led me to Agrimin because they specialise in this area.

“Although I have had previous work experience in butchers shops and on farms that take note of nutrition, it was the first time that I had a hands on involvement in the field to fork process.

“Everything I learnt from my work experience has been really helpful going into my fourth year. I feel much more confident and ready to take on more challenges like the ones Agrimin presented to me.

“My dissertation is also based on an Agrimin product where I’m looking into the effect of trace elements in growing cattle. Having worked with the company first hand, I have a working knowledge of the products which is definitely an advantage. Agrimin has been great about staying in touch and have been really helpful in answering my questions.”

For current students looking out for a placement year opportunity, Olivia offers this advice: “A year of work experience really sets you up for the world of work. You have the upper hand because not every graduate has the level of experience that a Harper student has. You can choose something you think you want to pursue in the future like I did or try something completely new. It’s a great time to try new things and start networking.

“It’s also a great time to start gathering data for your dissertation. It’s a big weight off your shoulders to get started early. Fourth year is a big step change so be ready to commit your time and effort to finishing your degree, making the most of the time you have left. Harper is an amazing place to be with so many opportunities so try and make the most of them when you come back!”

If you want to see our amazing campus and hear from the students themselves about their placement year experiences, join us on our open day, March 21, and find out how you could gain a degree that matters. You can find out more information below.

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