After growing up in the countryside and becoming distracted by city-living during his 20s, BSc (Hons) Environmental Land Management student Harry Vernon has gravitated to Harper Adams to re-train for a career he is passionate about.
“When it came to choosing where I wanted to study, I immediately thought of Harper Adams, especially as its rural campus will help with my degree work” says Parks Trust volunteer River Warden Harry, who adds, “I was impressed during visits to the campus and had heard glowing reports from lots of previous students, but it was Harper’s consistent ranking as a top University and its high graduate employment rate which was a big factor in choosing Harper for me.”
Harry, 35, who is originally from Buckinghamshire, wanted to devote the rest of his career to protecting – and positively impacting - the environment after witnessing continued biodiversity and habitat loss within his lifetime.
“I have spent the last 15 years in retail and administration roles and even worked as a 999-call handler and police radio operator. I’ve wanted to re-train in the environmental sector for a while, but it was a spell living within the breath-taking landscape of the Shropshire Hills which convinced me to take the leap and come to Harper Adams as a mature student,” says Harry.
Some might expect a mature student to be nervous about joining a cohort of 18–22-year-olds but Harry took it in his stride: “Although I wasn’t sure how my course mates would react to a mature student in his 30s, I was quite relaxed before coming to Harper and I’ve really enjoyed my first year.”
Harry had been away from academia for fifteen years and he admits that: “Starting university with a variety of professional skills and experiences was an advantage - but achieving good results throughout my first year has settled any doubts I had that I wasn’t cut out for the academic side of the degree.”
In his spare time Harry enjoys carrying out practical conservation tasks in volunteer roles for The Parks Trust and Natural England. He also manages the Twitter account for South Shropshire Climate Action, and has recently been involved in implementing the group’s action plan which has since been praised in Parliament.
Once he has finished his studies Harry is looking to “dive straight into a professional career” but is open-minded about pursuing a postgraduate degree if that pathway helps with his career ambitions.
“It’s never too late to start something new! Even in your 30s, by the time you finish studying you’ll still have at least 25-30 years left in your working life, so it makes sense to spend them doing something you love,” responds Harry, when asked if he had any advice for any potential mature students.
If like Harry, you think a degree from Harper Adams can help you achieve a career you’ll love, check out our courses for 2022.