Caitlin Townley-Birkett grew up on a mixed farm but only wanted an agricultural career after being given a summer job on the family farm and since then, she was dead set on coming to Harper Adams.
“A lot of people from home and my local Young Farmers Club had been to Harper Adams and they always came back singing the university’s praises… and I thought if they enjoyed it, I would do too,” says the FdSc Agriculture Student.
“Even before talking to my friends, I knew Harper had a great reputation, but after doing my own research it was the placement year that confirmed my decision.
“From everything I have heard and read, it’s a great opportunity to network and having that year in industry will make me stand out as I will already have the experience that other candidates might lack.”
Caitlin could not visit the university due to Covid-19 restrictions, but was amazed at the university’s facilities and her course once she arrived for her first year.
“There is so much on offer here, with the labs and the farm and in terms of modules… one hour I could be studying crops and the next Farm Business Management – there is such a range!
“People think that farming is just milking cows and driving tractors but it’s not, there is a lot more to it and that is what Harper’s teaching really embodies,” says the 18-year-old, from Lancaster.
Course representative Caitlin had not spent a lot of time away from home due to her A-Levels and the pandemic and was anxious about moving to Shropshire.
“I was nervous...but there was a lot of support here and having the events held by the Students Union helped to break the ice with everyone in my halls.
“The food here is amazing and being catered has really eased me into university life, and because you eat with different people every day, a community was created very quickly.”
After hearing all her friends talk about Harper Adams, Caitlin thought she knew what to expect, but she was still surprised about the variety of clubs and societies on offer.
The Tug of War society member says that: “I knew there was a lot, but I had no idea how many, and how varied – there is something for everyone.”
Caitlin has only just started at Harper, but has her sights set on becoming a rural advisor once she graduates, but if she could pass on some advice to future Harper students it would be to “just relax, take things in your stride and it will work out”.