The vocational nature of the courses at Harper Adams was one of the main reasons Technical Manager Mike Rudge chose to study at the University.
Mike, 28, who graduated in 2015 and now works for Total Worldfresh – part of Total Produce, one of the world’s largest and most accomplished fresh produce providers - explains why studying BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Studies was the right choice for him and how his degree has led to an exciting career travelling the world.
He said: “I was uninspired while I was studying my A-Levels and found it hard to engage as I found it difficult to relate them to a final career. I decided to look at Harper Adams as my dad had studied Agriculture there and I had grown up with stories about how great it was.
“I found that Harper had expanded its courses greatly since my dad’s days. I wasn’t really aware that the food industry existed before Harper but found myself particularly interested in the Food and Business courses as at the time I was working on a Saturday in a farm shop. I was attracted to the defined industry led focus of each course and found each module had a real-life application, which resonated with me.
“Harper Adams was the right choice for me as it specialised in courses that are industry relatable, every module I sat, I could understand the application and therefore I was able to engage with the material. It also gave me a year of experience in industry which immediately gave me an advantage over my graduating peers, improving my chances for life after university.
“After graduating from Harper Adams, I was accepted for a graduate job with International Procurement and Logistics (IPL), the produce procurement arm of ASDA stores, this gave me a glimpse into a range of jobs within the food industry as well as taking me round the country and even the world, spending three months in Chile.
“From there I was given a permanent job with IPL based in their Technical department, focusing on food quality and assurance. I believe Harper gave me a real advantage here, as from my studies I had a better understanding of the relationship between farming and consumers, therefore understanding the challenges from both growing, supply chain and consumption.
“I have since moved from IPL, but I have remained within produce and technical and I am excited for future opportunities.
“The truth is there is a large world of opportunities within food production and supply. We are facing increasing and changing problems to our industry and we need passionate minds and new perspectives, with COVID-19 as a more recent challenge, but also with climate change and the increasing demand for food in challenging production.”
If Mike has one piece of advice for prospective students, it is: “I would encourage you to focus on the final industry you can see yourself working in, this will mean you can pick courses and modules that will best prepare you for your final career.”