In this unpredictable climate, our courses are designed with employability in mind. Students make industry connections from day one and, with a placement year, gain diverse experiences in the working world before they even graduate. This was true of Ella Harris who studied BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management and graduated this year. She gained her graduate job role thanks to the connections she made during her placement. She shared her experience with us and how it has led onto the start of her career.
Ella’s placement year was with Roger Parry & Partners, working as a trainee Chartered Surveyor. She said: “I was delighted to secure a placement position with them. The work I undertook included valuations, building condition surveys, land sales, planning applications and farm business tenancies.”
While these experiences helped Ella with this role in particular, she also gained a lot more wide ranging skills for her CV. She commented: “I further developed ICT software skills including Microsoft Excel and Office, as well as more specialist technology like Promap and Land Registry.
“Likewise, I developed problem solving skills from dealing with clients and perfected my time management skills, ensuring I was on time for appointments and deadlines.”
All of these skills came back to benefit Ella at Harper, where in her final year she achieved a First in her studies. She shared: “I am over the moon to be graduating with a First Class Honours!
“Unfortunately celebrations were kept to a minimum due to COVID-19 however I am looking forward to catching up with cohorts and lecturers at Graduation in 2021.”
As a result of her degree achievements, and showcasing her own commitment to her role, Ella was offered a graduate role with her placement year employer. Working largely in succession planning, Ella’s dissertation research is helping her to make the connections necessary for her role. She commented: “I’m really enjoying returning to the business.
“In my role, it is clear to see how future plans on farms are often permanently deferred due to the inseparable link between the business assets and the family home. Therefore, in my role, I provide the best advice on identifying the key aspects of succession for family businesses and help facilitate the initial ‘difficult’ conversation about succession amongst family members.”
Looking to the future, Ella hopes to obtain chartered status with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and become a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.
For others scouting for placement year opportunities as well as graduate employment, Ella advises to keep your eyes peeled for something that interests you but equally to get involved and see what new skills you could learn. She explained: “You only get out what you put in. Take every opportunity and utilise your placement year. The benefit of returning to my final year of study knowing I had secured a graduate role with Roger Parry & Partners was very comforting – so seize every opportunity possible and strive to achieve the best that you can be!”
And it was attending Harper that helped her to achieve her very best. Ella said: “I had always known that I wanted a career within the agricultural industry but not necessarily on a farm. Harper Adams has a fantastic reputation amongst the UK’s rural sector, which is reflected in the high employment rate of its graduates. The rural location was an added bonus however, more importantly, Harper Adams degrees include the placement year which provided me with the opportunity to learn and earn in the real world, explore the field I wanted to work in and most of all, prepare me for graduate employment.”
While Covid-19 has made the job market an uncertain place, we believe our degrees will always matter. To keep the planet fed, to protect the environment, and to develop new ways of sustainable working, our students pave the way to a brighter future. Join us in September to start your journey.
As an employer, share your knowledge to continue taking the sector forward - get in touch to share your placement opportunity with a Harper student.