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    Posted 14 March 2003

    By Chris Horn:

    THE ENTHUSIASM, INTELLIGENCE and camaraderie shown by students at a Shropshire university, were praised last week as their Careers Fair got underway.

    Grant Philips, Managing Director of Barclays Agricultural, praised students at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, for their enthusiastic attitude, trained minds and great family spirit.

    Mr Philips opened the Careers Fair by addressing students and employers, saying post war intensive production contracts are a thing of the past, with recent disease outbreaks accelerating these changes. He said farmers and those within ancillary industries must embrace this change and use it to their advantage.

    Quoting from Darwin, Mr Philips said: “The species that survives is not the strongest, nor is it the cleverest, but merely the species that can adapt to change.”

    Mr Philips emphasised that Barclays are committed to the future of British agriculture, with 20,000 farming customers, over £2.1 billion pounds invested in the industry, and a 30% market share.

    Barclays take an average of six graduates per annum onto their two-year fast track scheme and are looking for employees who are competent dealing with people and have a desire to help fix people’s problems.

    Mr Philips further added that he was particularly interested in taking on more women to add to the 10% already employed within the agricultural banking industry.

    He said: “I have found in recent years that women have a great affinity dealing with people who are often highly stressed and coping with very difficult times. They tend to have very good personal skills.”

    Another employer filled with Harper promise is JSR Farming Group Director Philip Huxtable: “When we had a bigger budget, I used to go to all of the colleges, but as things have tightened up, we now only go to Seale Hayne and Harper.

    “We still come to Harper Adams because we find students are of the highest calibre. We tend to take on six to eight students every summer, for the harvest, and then from those we can normally find someone who really shines as a potential trainee manager. We also have a placement student with us each year, so we tend to take a great deal of people from Harper.”


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