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Accessing agriculture with Izzy Fussell

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22 January 2021

Individuals can access agriculture in all kinds of ways and, here at Harper Adams, we’re keen to support the next generation of industry professionals to access their dream career pathway. Izzy Fussell, a final year student studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management, joined Harper through the Access to Agriculture pathway, and hasn’t looked back.

Izzy’s interest in agriculture stemmed from her visits to her grandparents’ dairy farm. This interest grew when she discovered that with a Agriculture and Farm Business Management degree, she could combine her love of farming with that of business and geography, her favourite subjects at school. This is what brought her to Harper, a university not far away from the farm that originally peaked her interest.

Izzy said: “The course was spot-on at Harper and the fact the farm was on-campus made a massive difference; knowing we could wander down to the farm just made it feel so homely and familiar.

“In addition, the compulsory placement year set Harper's course apart from the rest, resulting in such high employment rates - I thought it was too good to miss. Of course, not to forget, the enthusiasm and reputation of the SU made it clear that the social side of Harper was also superior to other universities!”

However, it was the Access to Agriculture pathway that confirmed that Harper Adams was the place for Izzy. She shared: “In an industry that can deter new entrants, particularly those not from a home farm, Harper offered a helping hand and gave a 'leg-up' so to speak.

“I did my PA1, PA2, tractor driving, telehandling and animal transport courses mainly over two weeks in my Christmas holidays. Not only were the courses made to be a lot of fun but proved helpful in gaining real life experience to demonstrate to employers. During my first year I was milking on a local dairy farm and these courses made me much more confident operating machinery.”

Talking about Agriculture at Harper Adams, Izzy said: “I cannot stress how, when it comes to Agriculture, Harper is the place to be. The lecturers are all enthusiastic, many still pursuing research of their own, and always on-the-ball with the latest issues and developments. They really do go the extra mile to help you too.

“The farm always has on-going research, in various enterprises, which are openly discussed with students so you are privy to all manner of new findings and ideas! Really, there is no place like Harper.”

Being able to progress onto a BSc (Hons) course has opened up opportunities for Izzy, including a graduate role following a successful placement year. She commented: “I worked at Old Mill Accountancy, a firm in the South West, as a trainee accountant in the Rural team.

“I built on knowledge I had acquired in my first two years at Harper, particularly from my business courses, as well as learning a lot more about taxation and account management. I also gained a job offer to commence straight after completing my final year, so I am massively thankful for that!”

With this success, Izzy is looking forward to training as a Rural Accountant, obtaining qualifications, and then hopefully going on to becoming a Financial Advisor.

Izzy is currently working on her dissertation studying farm diversification, particularly focussing on the characteristics of diversified farmers compared to those that chose to adopt other business strategies such as specialisation.

Reflecting on her time at Harper, Izzy said of her course: “It’s challenging, but provides you with the skills to understand the industry and predict its future - essential for any manager or advisor.”

To find out more about the range of agricultural degree available at Harper Adams, please click here.

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