Posted 4 February 2015
Two final year Harper Adams University students have been awarded scholarships worth £1,500 each, sponsored by Jill Willows, a trustee of the university’s Development Trust.
Gordon Robinson, 24, from Sneachill, Worcester and Rebecca Lund, 21, from Southwell, Nottinghamshire have both expressed their gratitude to Jill Willows.
Gordon, a former pupil of King’s School, who is studying Agriculture with Farm Business Management, said “I’m so grateful to Jill Willows for this scholarship. As a young person in agriculture, the interest and support we receive from people like Jill is a massive boost to the start of our careers. The money will allow me to broaden my perspective of agriculture, by both visiting other farming systems and by gaining additional qualifications such as PA4. I am extremely grateful to Jill and hope to be able to replicate her generosity one day.”
BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Well-being student Rebecca, who previously attended Minster School, Southwell, said: “The scholarship has provided me with the possibility of opportunities that were previously unavailable to me. It has enabled me to fully enhance my learning experience while at Harper Adams, as I can fund essential academic materials, and it has provided financial support to allow me to plan my future after Harper Adams. I would like to express my sincerest thank you to Jill Willows for allowing me this.”
During the sandwich year of his degree, Gordon worked for Dalehead Foods, in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, as a lamb procurement student. Dalehead are dedicated suppliers of lamb and pork to Waitrose. He said: “My role was very mixed, organising events, crunching costs of production data, developing new product concepts and carrying out trial work. The insight into a really well integrated supply chain that outperformed the recession was awesome and gave me a background of industry information that is incredibly useful for this year, and undoubtedly the future.
“I am determined to become a farmer in my own right, showing excellent welfare, performance and profitability. In the immediate future I am planning to work under a mixed farm manager displaying these traits, so that I may continue to learn and develop before finally taking on my parents’ tenanted farm in a decade or so,” added Gordon, who takes a keen in interest in wood and metal work, sheep breeding technologies and theatre.
Rebecca worked for Pork Farms, in Market Drayton, Shropshire, during her year in industry: “My role was NPD (New Product Development) Placement Technologist and included organising and carrying out trials of new products in the factory and timely communication within the new product development team. I led my own project based on reducing fat in pastry which I presented to the customer and subsequently launched across the hot pie range. I assisted in launching numerous new or improved products for the Asda and Sainsbury’s account.
“Placement was an invaluable experience where I increased my knowledge of the NPD process and improved on my interpersonal skills, such as communication with different levels of management. It has improved my opportunity of employment as I have a year’s industry experience under my belt as well as indispensable contacts.
“After leaving Harper Adams, I hope to gain a place on a graduate scheme, ideally in new food product development. I believe this will provide me with essential experience of the food industry and increase my knowledge and skills so that I can continue to develop my career into a managerial role. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of my course which reinforces my ambition to pursue a career in the food industry, where I am looking forward to the prospect of taking on new opportunities and challenges,” added Rebecca, who plays football for Harper Adams and shows homebred Shire horses in hand at local and national level.