Scholarships at Harper Adams are an excellent opportunity to build industry links and gain insight into specific sectors while also achieving a coveted prize to help you with your studies. Fred Sorby, a final year student studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management, was fortunate enough to be awarded the Velcourt Arable scholarship in his second year, spending his placement year with the company. Now having returned to Harper to complete his degree with a final year scholarship from Velcourt, Fred shares his university and scholarship experiences.
Talking about his course, Fred said: “The course is really interesting, learning about the new advances in crop production and the concept of integrated crop management.”
So why Harper? Fred commented: “I was inspired to pursue a career in agriculture after working for six months on my friend’s farm during my gap year. I’m not from a farming background and that was my first experience with agriculture.
“I chose Harper because of the placement; I thought it would be really useful for me as I had such little agricultural experience. I also liked how highly regarded the university was by its own students.”
Looking back at his time spent studying for his undergraduate, Fred reflected on the highlights - his scholarship and his placement year.
“I really enjoyed my placement,” Fred said. “It was 15 months of long hours and learning a lot but great fun. I was a tractor driver on a 3,100-hectare arable farm. I learnt about farming practises, business and the experience of working a full year in industry.
“During placement I had to carry out tasks I had never done before with a steep learning curve. I had a lot to learn in a short space of time and then I was expected to carry out the tasks to a high standard. I just had to persevere and keep trying as I’m sure every student on placement has to do.”
His placement opportunity came as a result of his scholarship connections, the other most enjoyable aspect of Fred’s degree. He said: “I first heard about the Velcourt Scholarship when I started at Harper and set my sights on the award right from the start. So to then be awarded the scholarship meant a lot to me, after knowing I wanted it for so long.
“The Velcourt Scholarship has been an excellent opportunity for me to gain insight into the world of farm management, helping with university fees and providing a fantastic placement.
“I would encourage anyone thinking about farm management as a career to apply for this scholarship. Get involved with the fair and talk to the companies there; if you end up applying for one, showing an interest at the fair may put your name higher up their list!”
Now in his final year, Fred is working on his dissertation regarding glasshouse equipment and getting back into the Harper spirit. He shared: “Being back at Harper I’m enjoying having my weekends and evenings back - on placement I worked most of them! I’m also enjoying the social side of being back, seeing friends and living with people as I lived alone on placement.”
Fred’s advice to others attending Harper is to involve yourself in as many opportunities as possible. He said: “I would highly encourage people to apply for scholarships - the rewards are great and you lose nothing from applying. It helps to make yourself known to whoever is offering the scholarship. At the scholarship fair, introduce yourself and get your name in early!”