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Graduation 2022: meet guest speaker Ellen Humphrey

Posted 26 September

“Do not underestimate your worth, the value you bring to the workplace, or indeed, what it can do for you."

Man with beard in black and gold academic robes stands with a woman in a dark suit jacket and white blouse

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Lee, welcomes guest speaker Ellen Humphrey to Harper Adams for Graduation 2022

The guest speaker for the morning ceremony at Graduation 2022 was Ellen Humphrey, who graduated in 2018 with a first class honours degree in Countryside and Environmental Management.  

Ellen is now Lead Officer for Natural Resources Wales, with specific responsibility for Forests. She previously worked as a project officer for Coed Cymru Woodland Carbon Code Clients and developed their forestry management group after spending a year as a Graduate trainee for ABAgri- global supply chain training programme. 

Ellen, who won three scholarships and two prizes while at Harper Adams, volunteers with the Institute of Chartered Forestry for which she is the Welsh Regional Group Secretary, and is also a volunteer Wildlife Trust Warden.  

Ellen opened her speech by congratulating the graduates and saying: “Not everyone who starts a degree completes it, and not only have you completed yours but you have done so during a global pandemic. I take my hat off to all of you. 

Ellen spoke of her journey to her current position – from trying something that wasn’t a good fit, to second guessing whether she could do the roles that held the most appeal.  

She was working for a small woodland charity, learning the theory behind woodland management, when she spotted the opening for the position she is in today.  

“The job description was intimidating and I found myself in two minds about whether to apply. My friends and family encouraged me to throw my hat into the ring – after all, I had nothing to lose.” And it proved to be the right move! 

“For the last two and a half years I have been working for NRW as the forest operations officer covering the Brecon Beacons. I spend roughly half of my time out in various forests in all weathers and the other half in the office (aka the spare bedroom), doing the dreaded paperwork! At its most basic the purpose of my role is to help manage 5,000ha of forests sustainably, through the planning and delivery of harvesting and replanting programmes.  

“But as I have discovered, forest management and forestry operations are far from simple and require an incredibly varied skillset and knowledge base. I have been on a steep learning curve and I am still learning every day and its one of the many reasons I love my job.  

“…by listening to my gut, I found a job and a sector that I am passionate about and that I can see a future for myself in. It challenges me, rewards me, suits my personality and aligns with my values. I sincerely hope that you find jobs and careers that suit you too.” 

Ellen closed by telling the graduates: “Do not underestimate your worth, the value you bring to the workplace, or indeed, what it can do for you. And if you do find yourself going through a bumpy patch, which is part of life, review your options, listen to your gut and have the confidence to do what is right for you.”  


Read the main Graduation 2022 article. 


Read about fellow guest speaker, Guy Coggrave. 

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