Posted 1 March 2013
Placement was a great opportunity and gave me an insight into fresh produce.
A monthly special featuring a current student from Harper Adams.
Final year BSc (Hons) Agriculture student, Alice Whitehead, has been inspired to pursue a career in the fresh produce industry, all thanks to her placement year.
Most undergraduate degree students at Harper Adams in Shropshire undertake a placement year in industry, Alice worked for vegetable producers, Intercrop Ltd.
She spent the summer in England and from October to April in the Murcia region of Spain as a Team Leader for the spinach harvest.
Alice, from Ashford in Kent, said: “I worked alongside eight international staff from Spain, Morocco and Ecuador.
“We cut spinach six days a week and it was my job to ensure that production was efficient and that we were meeting the orders. I also produced reports, time sheets, worked out costings and made sure we were abiding to food safety regulations.”
Alice was given accommodation with another placement student and Intercrop employee. During her spare time she was able to explore the region and learnt how to speak Spanish – a language she is continuing to learn now she is back at Harper Adams.
The 21-year-old added: “Placement was a great opportunity and gave me an insight into fresh produce. This is now an area that I want to pursue for my career yet hadn’t considered it before.
“The first few weeks were daunting as I was a long way from home, but Intercrop was very supportive and looked after me.
“Once I’ve completed my degree I’d like to move from the growing side over to packing and possibly supermarket purchasing.
“I want to apply what I learnt from placement into other job roles within the sector, I think understanding how the crop is grown will be beneficial to me.”
Aside from her time on placement, Alice has been a Harper Adams student ambassador, is keen to continue learning Spanish, enjoys horse riding and is a member of Kent Young Farmers.
She added: “The student ambassadors really sold Harper Adams to me, they were engaging and welcoming.
“The facilities are also great - it’s campus based and everything is in one place, including the farm.
“My advice for future students would be to make the most of the opportunities available to you as you’ll make more friends and contacts for life.”
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