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Partnership with the Netherlands going from strength to strength

Posted 1 November 2017

"What is standing out is the fact that these graduates are really geared towards an international career"

The international graduates with academic staff and graduation VIP Adam Henson

A partnership between Harper Adams University and a Dutch counterpart is blossoming, with ten students from the Netherlands having graduated from postgraduate courses at Harper and many more now seeking opportunities to continue their education in the UK. 

Harper Adams University and HAS University of Applied Sciences have been working together to some extent for many years. But over the last two years the relationship between the two has strengthened, with more former HAS students choosing to undertake postgraduate study in Shropshire and with the appointment of Professor Wim de Koning to a Joint Chair position, benefiting both institutions.

In March this year, HAS University appointed Wim de Koning as Professor of Business and Enterprise Development, while Harper Adams has simultaneously appointed Wim as a Visiting Professor to the Land, Farm and Agri-Business Management Department.

Then in September, the ten-strong first cohort of Masters students to have come to Harper Adams via HAS graduated from Harper Adams.

The graduates from the Master of Science in International Agri-business and Food Chain Management programme were: Jetske Der Kinderen, Carolien Kloosterman; Pieter Ammerlaan; Mark Kneepkens; Lennert Teuwen; Erica Van Aert; Joost Van De Wijgert; and Niels Van Horen. In addition, Michel Pittens gained an MSc in Farm and Agri-business Management and Julian Beniers an MSc in Entomology. Both Jetske and Carolien achieved their graduation with distinction.

Pieter Ammerlaan said: “It’s been a busy last year, but it’s definitely been worth going abroad for. I plan to take over the family business in a couple of years, after gaining experience in a sales role in horticulture.” Erica Van Aert said she was due to start working as a junior business advisor for an accounting firm.

Professor de Koning said: “What is standing out is the fact that these graduates are really geared towards an international career. For example, Julian Beniers in continuing his entomology research at the Université Laval in Canada and Mark Kneepkens will start working for a German meat processor after a Dutch BSc and a UK MSc.”

Professor de Koning explained that in addition to the outstanding credentials of Harper Adams University, students from the Netherlands were attracted to the possibility of completing a Masters degree in one year, and, having seen the success of the first cohort, many had already registered their interest in starting on programmes commencing next autumn.

He said: “Taking a Masters degree at our partner university in England is the perfect option for many of my HAS students. Relevant programmes for them include Agricultural Sciences and Production Systems, Applied Ecology, Food Industry Management, International Agri-Business and Food Chain Management, Plant pathology, Renewable Energy and Rural Estate and Land Management.

“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the ten students who graduated this year and encourage those coming to the end of their studies at HAS University to consider applying.

“Everyone at Harper Adams has been incredibly welcoming to me and to the Dutch students, and provided a wealth of both academic and social experiences to enjoy.”

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