A successful placement year at what is believed to be the world’s oldest shooting school has made one Harper Adams student set her sights on a career in the industry and, one day, her own business.
Nina Wilkinson carried out her placement at The West London Shooting School, a clay pigeon shooting school which also has a restaurant and retail shop on site.
The 22-year-old, from North Yorkshire, said besides shooting, the business also offered off-roading and fishing, as well as hosting corporate events.
“The best thing about placement was learning so much about the industry. I was visiting Schoffel and Musto headquarters and getting to see the new collections before anyone else in the country, making new friends and seeing a whole other side to the world,” she said.
“One of the many reasons I chose Harper Adams is that the placement was a whole year. In a year you can not only gain incredible experience of the industry that you’re in, but also learn so much about yourself and the big wide world, which makes you a much better choice of candidate when competing for jobs. Many people think that leaving home to go to university is a big step but it’s nothing compared to leaving home to go start a job.”
Nina graduated with a BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing degree in 2013 and has high hopes for her future after being inspired by her placement.
“I want to go back into the shooting industry because I love it so much. My mother always told me not to make your hobby your job because you stop enjoying it, but placement taught me that if you make your second favourite hobby your job then you end up with the best job ever.
“I have always wanted to start my own business ever since I was a little girl, hence the reason for doing a Business degree. However, I feel like I want the security of working for someone else for a few years first. I’m quite interested in going abroad because placement made me realise how sheltered farm life can be and gave me a hunger to see more of the world, but I still want to stay true to my roots and to who I am.
She adds: “The placement year means that you have unrivalled experience and gives you the chance to make contacts that can lead to graduate jobs and a life-long career. If you work hard enough you can get to wherever you want to be and Harper Adams is definitely the best place to help you on your way to a land-based career.”
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
I didn’t want to go to a city university because coming from an extremely rural background, even though I wasn’t doing an agriculture course, I still wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people. I already had older friends here so I knew it was the institution that would suit me best.
What sort of projects have you been involved in?
In our first year we had to set up businesses for our Enterprise module; our group sold HAU branded underwear which sold out in the first day! My dissertation was a feasibility study into my own business start-up; which is fantastic as it means that I put all that effort into something truly worthwhile and translatable into the real world.
What is the teaching and staff support like?
Are all brilliant – our course manager Pam Whitehouse is always really helpful, friendly and easy to get hold of!
And the facilities?
The facilities here are second to none; and they are just improving more and more. For instance, the Faccenda building – we are in there so often and it didn’t even exist in our first year!
What skills/knowledge have you gained that will be useful now you have graduated?
Placement year is brilliant as it has consolidated everything I have learnt in the classroom.
How would you sum up Harper Adams?
A once in a lifetime experience that you will never get anywhere else whilst still making your parents proud by getting a good degree.
What else did you do in your spare time?
What careers, in your experience, are available to land-based graduates?
Although farmers are going through some really tough times at the moment there is most definitely a future in the rural sector. If you work hard enough you can get to wherever you want to be and Harper Adams is definitely the best place to help you on your way to a land based career.
Do you think being a graduate will make a difference to your position and salary?
I certainly hope so!! I would like to think that by gaining a good degree classification it shows that I am academic, bright, knowledgeable and hard-working; combined with my references from placement to prove that I can transfer these skills effectively into the real world, this should give me the edge.