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Growing relationship sees alumni’s seed company careers flourish

Posted 19 July

Two young women – Sophie Vear and Kathryn Pugh – wear Boston Seeds gilets and pose in front of a hedge.

A growing relationship between Harper Adams and a Lincolnshire-based seed company has seen the careers of a series of University alumni flourish.

Boston Seeds – which aims to use the knowledge and skills of the next generation of the agricultural sector to keep its business fresh – has worked with a range of alumni from the University, including Sales and Marketing co-ordinator Kathryn Pugh, who has been with the company since July of last year and Sophie Vear, Sales and Logistics Co-ordinator, who began her role at the company this June.

Kathryn, who comes from an arable farming background and grew up near Swineshead, studied a BSc (Hons) Agri-business degree at Harper Adams and discovered Boston Seeds during dissertation research in her final year.

She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Harper, I met friends for life and great industry contacts. 

“Being from an arable background, I knew I always wanted to pursue a career in Agriculture, Harper furthered this by blending agriculture with my firm interest in business and the supply chain.”

As that interest developed, Kathryn’s final year project led her to Boston Seeds – and, ultimately, to her new role.

She added: “Focusing on both merchants’ and farmers’ perspective of cover crops, I interviewed a now-colleague for my research for my dissertation, which turned into the role as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator at the end of my studies.

“I’ve loved the past year working with such an adaptive and knowledgeable team. I feel I’ve learned a lot about the amenity and agricultural supply chain and learned first-hand how a business evolves and adapts to meet the ongoing developing needs of the customer, particularly through challenging times.”

Earlier this summer, Kathryn was joined at Boston Seeds by Sophie, from Bourne, Lincolnshire, who took up her Sales and Logistics Coordinator role in June.

She said: “I discovered the role at Boston Seeds through one of my contacts and then phoned George Wallis, the Commercial Director at the company.

“I was really excited to start my job at Boston Seeds, my first impressions were that there was a good, positive company culture, which has been proven since I have been working at Boston Seeds. 

 “At Harper I read Agri-Food Marketing with Business, completing the FdSc course in 2020, then topping up onto the BSc (Hons) course. 

“I really liked the culture at Harper - with the socials and the opportunity to have a year out in industry - and the lecturers were always helpful and supportive. The module options were broad so that I could gain a wide range of knowledge across my course.”

Sophie is planning to use her latest role to extend upon that knowledge – and to add to her contacts across the agricultural sector.

She added: “I am enjoying meeting new people in the industry, and I have already had opportunities to visit various trial days and events such as Cereals and Groundswell. 

“I am also looking forward to learning more about crop inspecting.”

George Wallis, Commercial Director at Boston Seeds, said: “We’re delighted to work closely with Harper Adams to offer unique and exciting career paths in the seed industry to young people – and we’d love to hear from more people who might want a career here too!

“Boston Seeds is growing, forward-thinking and innovative and we’re passionate about employing young people who are the future of the UK agriculture industry. Young people do business differently both on farm and in the supply chain so it’s vital we engage with this generation.

“In return, we can offer a career that combines a passion for agriculture with providing technology and solutions fit for the 21st century.”

With growing numbers of alumni among those who are securing roles at the company, Kathryn believes that the skills Harper Adams students gain during their studies offer them both common ground with their workmates – as well as the Harper advantage.

She added: “One benefit is having colleagues with a similar taught background, with common interests and hobbies.

“It’s great knowing that Boston Seeds are looking for young professionals with the knowledge and practical experience that comes with studying at Harper.”

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