Each year, hundreds of Harper Adams students spend twelve months in industry gaining valuable experience.
In this piece, BSc Hons Agriculture with Crop Management student Eleanor Gilbert - whose enthusiasm for British agriculture has seen her develop thousands of social media followers and even make some television appearances – discusses her experience on placement with Batholomews Agri food Ltd.
Working in agriculture has many career opportunities - farm management, engineering, journalism, animal health & nutrition, marketing, crop protection and agronomy - to name just a few, as well as having the opportunity to work all over the world.
Farming and food production is essential to life.
My Harper Adams University third year placement takes me down south to Bartholomews Agri food Ltd (Barts Agri), based in Chichester. This is a year placement and a competitive scholarship. To secure the placement and scholarship, I was interviewed as part of the application process. I have found this has really helped me prepare for future job applications and shown me what will be expected later in life.
When I was looking at placement options, Bartholomews’ placement scheme and scholarship programme stood out to me as they provided a range of different opportunities and experience, for example working and processing seed, fertiliser and working with crop and field trials showing me the other side of the supply chain. I was incredibly lucky to be awarded the placement, as itis highly competitive among agricultural students across the country.
Before I chose to complete my degree at Harper Adams, I was sceptical of the placement year, since I already had lots of practical experience from working on my home farm. However, having started my placement I have gained real insight into other areas within the agricultural industry that I was not previously aware of. These experiences will all be extremely helpful in deciding my future career path, since I have gained valuable skills from driving a tractor at home to loading a ship with milling wheat to send off to Belgium for biscuits at Barts Agri.
Barts Agri have been established for 140 years, with their fertiliser depot running for more than a decade now - and I feel proud to be the first ever woman to work at the company’s fertiliser depot in Southampton. This has been a challenging yet rewarding experience, which I am sure will give me skills to carry throughout my life. I have a very experienced manager which has shown me how to get the best out of the work force. Working here has also enabled me to add interesting content to my YouTube channel - something I can use to educate the wider community.
The past six months has really given me food for thought regarding the true importance of placement and the opportunities it can give. It has provided me a great insight into the working world to underpin my final year of studies at Harper.
Barts Agri said: “Eleanor has played an integral part in operation teams throughout many of our disciplines from seed production, fertilizer to our grain port facility. On top of all her day-to-day responsibilities, she is highly successful with her digital platforms, educating the public and championing our industry’s supply chain value. We were all delighted for her when she recently won the highly acclaimed BBC Food and Farming Countryfile Young Countryside Champion award.”