“I fell in love with Harper Adams instantly” chuckles Kate Howlett - now a graduate surveyor at Dalcour Maclaren - after she was advised to consider studying Rural Enterprise and Land Management (REALM) at Harper Adams and attend an open day by her brother back in 2014.
“When I decided I wanted to study REALM I initially had my heart set on another university but, when I visited Harper, I was just hit with this gut feeling that this was the place for me, the place, the people, the atmosphere…it felt like a home from home.” The on-campus farm was also a major selling point – there was nothing better than escaping the library to go and look at piglets or stand in the parlour for a while.
Kate jokes that - prior to her degree - her agricultural background was limited to “the occasional tractor ride during silage and harvest” but she decided to pursue a REALM degree after speaking to friends and doing her own research.
“I had a real interest in National Trust properties and looking at the estates for sale on the Savills website and thought I’d really enjoy working in that industry, so I spoke to as many people as I could, got some work experience, and went from there really.”
After starting her degree and spending two years on campus, Kate undertook her year in industry at Dalcour Maclaren. of which she says that she was “absolutely petrified” but Dalcour made her feel welcome right from the get-go.
“They kept in contact with me all the way through the process leading up to my placement and made sure I was prepared for my first few weeks in the office and even reserved me a parking space!”
On the strength of her achievements whilst on placement, Dalcour offered keen horse rider Kate, a position as a graduate surveyor once she completed her studies. She also won the Buccleuch Placement Prize for her efforts.
When asked whether the REALM course and placement helped her prepare for her graduate role, Kate enthusiastically nods and replies: “YES – 100% I have used EVERYTHING that I learned during my degree…everything was, and is, so useful and relevant to the industry.”
In the not so distant future, ex Harper hockey player Kate will be taking her professional exams in a bid to become a Chartered Surveyor, after which she hopes to get more involved with the graduate training and development side of the business, which Dalcour place such importance on
To anyone contemplating their next steps, Kate’s advice is to “go with your gut feeling, make sure you do what is right for you and get a variety of work experience if you can.
“Don’t be afraid to take a risk - I did! if it doesn’t work, count it as work experience and try something else ... I never thought I’d be doing what I’m doing now I thought it was all Schöffels and chinos but it’s not at all and I absolutely love my job with DM and I have Harper Adams to thank for it.”
If, like Kate, undertaking a degree in REALM could be your true calling have a look at the course and sign up for our next open day.