Posted 14 November 2013
Harper Adams sits very comfortably, we believe, at the top of what is on offer in terms of education to people who are involved in agriculture.
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More than 1,500 students and 86 companies attended the annual Careers and Placement Fair held at Harper Adams University.
Final year students received guidance and advice about their future career paths and got to meet companies looking for quality graduates face-to-face.
First and second year students also attended the fair on Tuesday to discuss placement opportunities with staff representatives from a wide variety of companies from across the agri-food sector.
Speaking at the event, Terry Pickthall, Lecturer and Placement Manager for Agriculture at the university, said: “Placement is an essential part of all our undergraduate programmes. The diverse nature of the agriculture sector means our students could be working almost anywhere, from a tiny family dairy run by father and son to a multi-national agri-chemical company like Syngenta with thousands of employees.
“It’s very much down to what their interests are and what their professional plans are for the future in terms of their career.
“A lot of the businesses here today are offering a mixture of placement and graduate opportunities and it’s about students talking to them and realising there are job opportunities that they weren’t perhaps aware of when they first came to Harper Adams.”
Liz Ball, from The North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo), said it was the first time the company had exhibited at the event.
“We have had Harper Adams students at Chester Zoo on internships in the past and we wanted to come and meet some of the students, tell them about what we offer and see if we can increase the number coming through our programmes.
“Most people think they have to have an animal degree to come on our internships but we actually take people from a wide spectrum of courses. This event means we can get to those people who would not necessarily apply.
“It’s really nice to come for the first time and meet everybody here.”
Another first time exhibitor was Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, a leader in the development of veterinary and animal health medicines.
Company director, Edward Haughey, said: “Harper Adams sits very comfortably, we believe, at the top of what is on offer in terms of education to people who are involved in agriculture.
“Harper Adams has a very, very good reputation within the industry. We have had a number of people come on placement with us, we have had a number of people in our marketing department as well as our technical department, and the standard of education they are provided with is extremely high. I frankly would say it’s the world standard having worked all across the globe myself and I’m very proud to say we are working closely with Harper Adams and certainly hope to do so a great deal more in the future.
“The best of industry and the best of the students to go into industry are here and I can’t recommend it enough.”
Final year BSc (Hons) Bioveterinary Science student Niamh Dooley, from Greenford, Middlesex, who did her placement year with Norbrook at its research farm in Northern Ireland, said she was pleased the company had decided to take part in the event at Harper Adams.
The 21-year-old said: “I’m delighted to see Norbrook here. I really enjoyed my placement and I really think it would benefit other students to do their placement with them as there are so many opportunities with the company after they graduate.”
Judith Harcombe, a third year BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Studies student, is currently on placement with Dalehead Foods
The 20-year-old from Hanley Castle, Worcester, said: “It’s an invaluable experience for Dalehead to come here and meet the students. The company solely take on Harper Adams students for placement and have done for the last 27 years. They currently have five Harper Adams students on placement this year.
“My placement so far has given me the opportunity to gain vital experience and further understanding of from field to fork.”
Final year students Anna Bird, from Malvern, Worcestershire, and Nicola Davies, from near Newport, Shropshire, attended the fair to talk to food companies about prospective careers.
Twenty-one-year-old Anna, who is studying BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Well-being, said: “I came to look at some graduate jobs. I found the careers fair useful for my placement so I have come to have a catch-up with my placement company and just to have a meet and greet with other people here today.”
Nicola, 23, who is studying BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Studies, said: “Today is really valuable, I mean you can’t knock it when they are coming on our doorstep, you have to go and visit them and talk to them because you don’t often get an opportunity like this to meet so many companies from the industry all in one place.”