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    Workplace ready graduates and Tea Cakes, Alumna Laura Stewart discusses her Harper Adams experience.

    2 March 2022

    Laura Stewart decided on pursuing a career in the food industry, but to get there, she needed to study a degree which had a good balance between hands-on experience and theoretical teaching. Luckily for the Food Technology and Nutrition graduate, Harper Adams offered just that.

    “I looked at a range of universities offering food-related degree courses but some they were very theory based, and more like food chemistry than food technology.

    “I wanted to study food from a more practical, holistic farm to fork perspective and Harper had these values ingrained within its teaching, as well as its mandatory placement year which really suited me”, says the 22-year-old.

    “The teaching at Harper is an interesting balance of academic theory with practical skills and knowledge. This dynamic approach helps to bridge the knowledge and skills gap between academia and the commercial food industry, and means graduates are confident and really well equipped to start a successful career.

    For Laura, who is from Newtownards, Northern Ireland, there is one stand-out component of her degree.

    “The Food Extravaganza! was part of the New Product Development module in second year and was among my favourite modules. We were split into groups and had to develop a vegan product for the food manufacturer GOSH!

    “After their initial pitch, they gave us six months to develop the product”, says Laura.

    “My group developed vegan tea cakes, that were composed of a raspberry and medjool date base, topped with raspberry aquafaba filling, encased within a dark chocolate dome.

    “We developed our product over a number of months, spending two or three hours in the development kitchen each week, working on a range of ideas and having a few disasters along the way.

    “We had to go through the entire NPD stage-gate process, from the pitch to designing the marketing materials, packaging, branding and coming up with a finished product price. We then presented our product at the Food Extravaganza competition event to GOSH!, Dairy Crest, other food industry stakeholder, our lecturers and colleagues. Our group was placed 2nd at the event which was amazing.

    “It was the real-life industry experience and problem-solving nature of this module that I enjoyed so much,” adds the former Harper Ireland Secretary.    

    Laura also loved that the lecturers made the course content relevant to their students and easy to learn.

    “As most of the class had come from a rural or agricultural backgrounds, the course subjects were very relevant and we could use our own experiences to aid our learning”.

    “We discussed topics such as the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme and the LEAF Marque Standard, and how these agricultural schemes play an integral role in food safety and quality within the food industry.

    Laura has since graduated and is now on a Technical graduate scheme with British food manufacturer, Samworth Brothers where she rotates around different jobs that fall under the Technical remit.

    Workplace ready graduates and Tea Cakes, Alumna Laura Stewart discusses her Harper Adams experience.



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