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Harper Adams Graduate Annabel Palmer goes from strength to strength.

Posted 7 September

“My favourite memories are definitely of the balls and social events - I think you'd be hard pushed to find someone who said otherwise, but Harper gave me some much-needed self-confidence and has opened doors to so many opportunities during and following my time there.”

Harper Adams graduate Annabel Palmer has gone from strength to strength. Originally rejected from Harper Adams, she attended another agricultural university as she hadn’t achieved the a-level results that she had expected. Annabel hadn’t really considered going to university at all. Persuaded by her parents, who’s father is a Harper Adams Alumni, Annabel applied to Harper Adams, but come results day, and having not achieved the expected grades, she went to another institution, but was very unhappy.

When attending the Harper Adams Freshers Ball with her friend, who had been successful on getting into the University, Annabel immediately felt at home and knew that she wanted to study. She took the initiative and spoke to the course leader, who told her that a space had opened up, so she packed her bags and began her studies at Harper Adams, half- way through the first semester of her first year.

Annabel threw herself into Harper life “My favourite memories are definitely of the balls and social events - I think you'd be hard pushed to find someone who said otherwise, but Harper gave me some much-needed self-confidence and has opened doors to so many opportunities during and following my time there.”

She thrived on her course, and worked hard to graduate with a First Class degree in Business Management and Marketing, spending her placement year working in the Harper Adams Shows and Events team.

" I initially disliked the idea of a placement, but in hindsight, my year in Shows and Events Dept was such a valuable experience and I would recommend a placement year to anyone now!” she said. “As quite a quiet and shy student, standing on a show stand constantly talking to potential students, figures of industry, alumni and the general public was a bit daunting at the time, but it was just what I needed.” “

After graduating from Harper Adams, Annabel took a gap year, riding event horses and travelling. She worked for her family business while she decided what she wanted to do career wise. In 2018, a three-week holiday to in New Zealand quickly turned in a full year in 2018, which ended up with her spending 12 months abroad, 6 of those working on an Australian cattle station.

When she returned home, her experience at Harper Adams caught the attention of agricultural company, Buitelaar, and she was approached for the unique position of Commercial Assistant to the Managing Director, Adam Buitelaar. Buitelaar runs an integrated beef supply chain with a focus on British rosé veal and beef; Buitelaar provides sustainable, higher welfare solutions to British farmers

“‘Like Harper, Buitelaar has a work hard, play hard attitude and working with such a fun, like-minded team means work doesn’t really feel like work. My role is incredibly varied and has given me exposure to all business areas, whilst shadowing Adam, the Managing Director. The last eight months has been a real learning curve, but I feel privileged to have a job that I thoroughly enjoy.”’

Buitelaar is a growing business with exciting career opportunities, which is keen to look to Harper Adams to recruit, including taking part in the Harper Adams University careers fairs later in the year.

Adam Buitelaar said: “'Steeped in five generations of history, Buitelaar has agriculture and farming families at its core. However, in this modern, fast-paced world of food, we can't dwell on past achievements, we must think on our feet and be able to turn on a sixpence.

“As such, when we look for people to join our team, they must have real family / team values, but be able to adapt to new challenges. I personally believe that if you don’t have genuine passion that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning, then you should change what you do.

“Annabel has shadowed myself since the beginning of the year and in this time she has worked with supply chain farmers, retailers and restaurant owners. She is a credit to Harper Adams and in a short time, she's managed to tick every box Buitelaar has for a team member. My motto is to train people well enough that they can go anywhere, but treat them well enough that they want to stay.”'

Annabel’s story is one of many examples of Harper Adams graduates enjoying success with companies at the forefront of modern agriculture.

Our specialist degrees help to equip graduates with the knowledge, understanding and skills to make their way into the world of work and excel in their chosen careers. https://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/courses/

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