Alex McMenemy’s certainty about her career path, and the influence that her Harper Adams studies have had upon it, speaks volumes.
Having not studied a related course at undergraduate level, Alex is delighted that her part-time MProf in Rural Estate and Land Management has given her everything she needs to pursue her new career.
She said: “I did my undergraduate degree in English Language at a city-centre university, and I was the only one there from a farming background - I had very different life experiences to others. At Harper, it was so different. It felt like everyone shared a passion for the rural sector and that blew me away.”
Alex grew up on a farm in County Durham and had always considered Harper Adams for study – she just took a less traditional route to get there. But she is delighted she did!
She added “I have friends that attended Harper Adams for their undergraduate degree and they only ever had great things to say about the university. The amount of hands-on experience and career-focused learning they said they received really impressed me, so when I wanted to extend my education further than undergraduate, it was the logical choice for me to take.
“Other universities I looked at didn’t seem to offer anything as hands-on, with some in particular not offering the rural element that I wanted.”
Alex, who now works as an Agriculture Regulatory Officer for the Environment Agency, said: “I wouldn’t have considered doing the job that I am doing now without the course I did at Harper. My position was only a fixed-term contract, but I’ve just recently been made permanent and couldn’t be happier.
“Being in the job I am, I try to build a rapport and a good relationship with farmers. Harper is such a recognised institution in the agriculture sector that I am always very proud to tell them I attended.”
The pandemic might have limited Alex’s opportunities for on-site learning but she had high praise for Harper’s blended learning approach - which also helped her to balance work and study commitments throughout her two-year, part-time course.
“The entirety of my second year was delivered virtually, and having done most of my core modules in my first year, this left me free to choose areas of study that I was most interested in during the latter stages of my course.
“Whenever I had a query with a module, I could arrange a call with an academic easily and get the assistance I needed.
“Rural Land Policy Development has really shaped what I am doing today as I found it so interesting and it clicked with me. Also, Forestry and Woodland Management, Sustainable Energy within the Countryside and Land Use and Management made me realise my interest in policy development. I also found Agriculture for the Land and Business Professional really insightful, and the assessment for this module was very applicable to how I now carry out farm visits for my job.”
Having been impressed with the facilities, learning environment, module content and personable approach that Harper offers, Alex said she would recommend the Harper Adams course to prospective students.
“If you have done an undergraduate degree and don’t think it will get you where you want it to within the industry, then I’d recommend coming to Harper because it can help with that - and it sets you up really well for where you’ll go next.”