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Harper Adams: Linked closely with industry

Posted 14 June 2011

UNIVERSITIES WEEK 2011 TUESDAY: Big Ideas for Business

Our reputation within the rural and food sectors means Harper Adams is well respected in the workplace. The University College has well established links with some of the leading companies and organisations in the food and land-based sectors. One of Harper Adams’s strengths is the contact it maintains with employers. What follows are just a few examples of how Harper Adams works with and supports UK businesses.

The university college has strong links with more than 500 placement employers across a wide range of industries and specialisms. Work placement excellence is recognised by the likes of NatWest Bank, which awards cash prizes to three students annually, and by many other sponsors of our students, either during their academic programme or the placement period. Every year, Harper Adams hosts a very successful Careers and Placement Fair for its students. This event brings more than 100 employer representatives together under one roof, allowing students the chance to pursue a range of opportunities on the same day.

See the video case study of students working at poultry company PD Hook here.

Harper Adams consistently demonstrates an extremely high graduate employment rate. This is attributed to the links with potential employers and the skills and experience which the students acquire during their placement year. Indeed, many students go on to a scholarship for their final year of study and employment with the company at which they completed their work placement. Others also draw on their placement to develop their final year research project and a number are directly supported by an employer to complete their project.

Harper Adams jointly leads the Rural Employer Engagement Development Network (REEDNet) for rural professions and businesses. Working with a selection of land-based FE colleges, REEDNet is providing a staffing and a support infrastructure (including ICT) to work with employers, and to develop and deliver credit-rated courses for businesses and professions in the rural economy. 

New employer engagement projects this year include:

Harper Adams University College and XLVets have united to deliver a University College Foundation Certificate in Dairy Herd Health Management. 

Harper Adams and Pets at Home have taken their joint training initiative to a new level, with all Pets at Home employees being signed up to complete a University College Foundation Certificate in Professional Studies: Responsible Pet Care

Hundreds of volunteers are set to start work abroad with a Harper Adams-accredited qualification, thanks to a new partnership between the University College and VSO. Full details to come tomorrow! (Weds June 15) 

Harper Adams has an extensive range of student scholarships from professional organisations, companies and societies, including JCB, Claas, The Bomford Trust, Syngenta, Co-operative Farms, Velcourt, The Barham Benevolent Foundation etc. A notable addition is a new Poultry Scholarship scheme backed by the Poultry Industry.

Regular lecture and discussion evenings are run by and for the students, which allow them to hear opinions and advice from leading figures in the agricultural and related industries. 

Harper Adams is a member of Business in the Community, through which the University College is a recognised member of the Prince’s May Day Network, the UK’s largest group of businesses committed to taking action on climate change. A May Day event this year saw business representatives visit Harper Adams to learn about the University College’s new Anaerobic Digestion Plant and its approach to sustainability. 

Women in Rural Enterprise, WiRE is the only national UK organisation to promote, support and develop rural businesswomen; WiRE serves its 1500 members across the UK from Harper Adams Agricultural University. Ongoing WiRE research into rural business and the barriers faced by rural businesswomen gives WiRE the insight and knowledge to offer relevant, specific and valuable support.  WiRE was founded as a result of research undertaken at Harper Adams, and has since won a range of national awards and received considerable recognition from Government for its work on promoting and supporting women-owned rural businesses. It also continues to bid for and win major contracts across the UK to provide specialist business support to women starting up rural enterprises.

The West Midlands Regional Food Academy (RFA) at Harper Adams exists to support the West Midlands region's food industry. It has two main functions. Firstly, it provides technical and business support to food and drink businesses in the West Midlands and particularly those in the SME sector. Secondly, The RFA works with schools, and further and higher education institutions in the region, to raise awareness and understanding of food and the food industry, and the careers that the industry offers.

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