Harriet Blakey, 22, from Northumberland, is in the final year of a BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Studies degree. She chose her placement from the huge range advertised through Harper Adams’ website, at Uncle Henry’s Farm Shop in Lincolnshire.
After a period on the shop floor getting to know all aspects of the business, Harriet’s placement was tailored to fit her interests and skills. There was an opportunity to work in public relations and events, getting a lot of experience in different areas of the business. “Nothing beats hands on experience” she says, listing all of the things she was involved in: “Updating websites, designing promotional material, writing editorials and press releases, talking to press and publications, customer queries, booking conferences, organising events … it was really varied.”
Harriet, like most placement students, was given as much responsibility as permanent members of staff but also a lot of support: “They made me feel at home, I haven’t felt pressured and although a lot of jobs that were assigned to me were completely new, they let me get on managing my own time and learning at a comfortable pace. But at the same time I knew I only needed to ask for help and they would be happy to assist.”
So why did Harriet choose to study Food at Harper Adams? “I was attracted to the university because of the like-minded students and the close-knit population, as well as the placement year. It also seemed to have a great reputation which is important for future references.
“As well as the usual lesson time the course offered practical hands on experience on and off campus with multiple field trips. It has been great to see first-hand what we have learnt in theory.
“I feel Harper Adams has given me the best opportunities, and there is always help at hand. They don’t let you struggle by. It’s a one off learning experience, both academic and social. There’s no place quite like Harper Adams.”
Now back at uni for her final year, Harriet believes she is building great experience to prepare for the jobs market. “Because of the varied modules I feel my course has opened more doors and has broadened my career opportunities. Experience is key and hands on experience, which I have been able to gain through my course and placement, really counts. Harper Adams students have a great reputation, thanks to the university, one I believe many employers favour.”