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    “No two days have been the same – I certainly experienced the full supply chain from farm to fork!”: Food student Grace discusses placement

    20 June 2023

    Here at Harper Adams, we offer a one-year placement to give students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and deepen their knowledge, alongside their degree, ready for the working world. 

    We spoke with Grace Brown, a third year BSc (Hons) Food Technology student from County Down, Northern Ireland, about the value her placement at the NFU has had on her university experience. 

    Here’s what she had to say. 

    My course covers a wide array of modules, from marketing to food biotechnology, and even sustainability in global food production. These have all helped me to develop an understanding of various stages within the food supply chain, but I was eager to develop my knowledge further to gain a full ‘farm to fork’ understanding of the UK food supply chain. This led me to apply for the placement opportunity with the NFU. 

    I started at the NFU headquarters in Stoneleigh in August 2022. Within my first two weeks I had the opportunity to attend the Prime Minister candidate hustings with Rishi Sunak, and the fantastic experiences and opportunities have kept coming throughout the year!  

    In my job role, I assist all members of the food business team with their work areas including organics, the out-of-home sector and the retail sector – being part of some very exciting projects, championing British farmers and the food they produce for a range of supply chains. Throughout the year, I have also been working closely with the poultry team, assisting them during the Avian Influenza outbreak earlier this year.  

    Within my first couple of weeks, planning started for the 2022 #BuyMyTurkey campaign where I worked closely with the communications department to design and develop the campaign. This included having great fun filming the Christmas dinner video which was used to promote the day on NFU social media 

    One of my favourite work areas has been supporting the NFU Organic Forum. This involved me organising a visit and farm tour for the Defra organics team to RB Organics and Bedlam Farms Organics. The visit was a fantastic opportunity to build relationships between the NFU and Defra's organics team, with members being able to highlight the challenging situation within organics and the wider farming sectors to the Defra team.  

    This experience really helped me develop my organisational and communication skills by having to contact various different organisations and businesses to arrange the agenda for the day. I am also organising an upcoming trip for the Forum to Yeo Valley, which will act as a knowledge exchange event for non-organic farmers. 

    Although I had some experience of public speaking, through Young Farmers and University, it is not something I would have been very confident in before starting placement. My first presentation with the NFU was for the #BuyMyTurkey campaign at a turkey marketing meeting in Exeter, which was an extremely nerve-racking experience.  

    Since then, I have been fortunate enough to take part in NFU’s presentation training course which was an invaluable experience and has hugely helped with my confidence when presenting and attending events. 

    I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend this year’s NFU Conference and to be part of the opening video, which I found to be a really inspiring two days, getting the chance to talk to members and industry professionals about their roles within the industry, as well as listening to the keynote speakers. The whole event made me incredibly proud to be part of the NFU and supporting British agriculture. 

    When applying for the NFU Food Business placement I could never have imagined the memories and friendships I was going to make over the year.  

    From visiting the London office for a tour of Parliament which involved having to navigate the Underground for the first time, to picking organic broccoli on the Cambridgeshire fens, and of course not so forgettable…. dressing up in a turkey costume for #BuyMyTurkey. 

    No two days have been the same – I certainly experienced the full supply chain, from farm to fork! 


    “No two days have been the same – I certainly experienced the full supply chain from farm to fork!”: Food student Grace discusses placement



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