Posted 28 March 2014
"The students I met today have got the right attitude. You can see that they are excited about the opportunity.”
Students awarded generous scholarships to help them undertake voluntary work placements to support their learning had a welcome opportunity to thank their sponsor this week.
Mr Harvey James, as trustee of Shropshire’s Jean Jackson Charitable Trust visited the Harper Adams University campus on Wednesday.
Mr James was joined for lunch by the three students awarded Jean Jackson Scholarships this year. The awards are open to those studying countryside or animals-related courses who either come from Shropshire or will be undertaking voluntary work placements in the county during the sandwich year that is a part of all Harper Adams degree programmes.
Most Harper Adams students obtain paid placements, but for countryside studies, the most valuable experience often comes from volunteering. Therefore the Jean Jackson Charitable Trust Scholarship provides each chosen scholar with £10,000.
Mr James said: “The experiences we have had with the students we have been able to support at Harper Adams have been very, very positive. Feedback has been excellent and we feel it is very important, in this day and age, particularly with the costs of study rising and loans needing to be taken, to support students who would not get paid for their work placement. The students I met today have got the right attitude. You can see that they are excited about the opportunity.”
Countryside Management Student Jo Hill, 26, from Shifnal, will be undertaking voluntary work experience as assistant to the Senior Park and Estate Warden at The National Trust’s Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury. She said: “I feel very privileged to have been awarded The Jean Jackson scholarship. I am thrilled to have been offered work at Attingham Park and I am looking forward to the practical skills I will learn and the wealth of experience I will gain. I am hoping that after I graduate I will be able to secure a position with The National Trust as either a warden or a ranger.”
Hannah Williams, 25, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, is also studying Countryside Management. She said: “The Jean Jackson Scholarship means I can work for Natural England on a full time basis for a full year; allowing me to really get the most out of my year out in industry. I am overwhelmed that I have been lucky enough to be in receipt of such a wonderful gift from the Jean Jackson Charitable Trust.” Hannah will be working at Natural England at Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses from July 2014 to July 2015, and ultimately would like to work in environmental consultancy or ecology.
Robert Chapman, 20, from Sandbach, Cheshire, is working towards a degree in Countryside and Environmental Management. He said: “The scholarship has opened up a huge number of opportunities for me. I will be able to go on short courses, spend as much time as I can at my placement and really push myself towards the career I’ve always wanted. To know that the University and Jean Jackson Trust believe I’m worth investing in is the biggest confidence boost I’ve ever had and I can’t wait to get stuck in!
“My placement is with the Carding Mill Valley National Trust Ranger Service as a full-time Volunteer Assistant Ranger, five to six days a week. I will be working with the learning officer, rangers and ecologist to protect and enhance the Shropshire Hills.” Robert’s ambition is to work with a ranger service, ideally managing an upland or peatland site. “A job which allows me to be outside whilst making a difference in the real world. In the long-term I would consider further study and potentially a research role or educational role,” he explained.
All three students are members of the Harper Adams University Conservation Society.
The Jean Jackson Charitable Trust has also made a generous donation to support the development of an entomology building on the Harper Adams campus, in Edgmond, near Newport. Entomology, the study of insects, is integrated into a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered at Harper Adams.
Mr James was given an update on the work to convert an existing carbon-friendly building into an entomology laboratory and insect culturing facilities, which will be essential to support both teaching and research.