Posted 24 March 2006
A STUDENT at Harper Adams University College has visited Buckingham Palace to collect a prestigious award.
Twenty-one-year-old Laura Haslett, from Limavady, visited the palace with representatives from the Shropshire-based university college and WiRE last month to collect The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
The award recognises Harper Adams’ significant contribution to the Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) programme in developing and supporting women-owned rural businesses.
Laura, a third-year was BSc Business Management with Marketing student, was on her placement year with WiRE when they were commended with the award.
Commenting on her visit to London, and meeting The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Princess Royal at the honours ceremony, Laura said: “It was fantastic. Sitting in the ballroom was a real thrill and it was an honour to be invited there.
During her placement year, Laura, an ex-pupil of Coleraine High School and Limavady College of Higher and Further Education, took part in administration and helped to organise and attend events.
“The whole placement experience was great – it was a wonderful year and immense to get to do so much stuff. I learned a lot and everyone I worked with was brilliant. I saw businesses start up and grow with the help of WiRE – who were both instrumental and supportive.”
Speaking on why she chose Harper Adams University College, Laura said: “I thought the course looked good and then I came to visit and realised how fantastic it was.
The WiRE programme has had an enormous impact on the development of small businesses in the rural economy. It was founded in the mid 1990s as a result of research undertaken by Harper Adams University College.
It has since grown into a national business club with membership stretching across the country and has regional offices in Yorkshire and the East Midlands. International links with China, South Africa, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia have also been pursued.
As a model of specialist small business support, backed by research, WiRE has featured in the Government strategy on women’s entrepreneurship and in other studies of methods to support enterprise in rural communities.
Director of WiRE, Izzy Warren-Smith, said: “I am extremely pleased that the work of the WiRE team, its members and the university college has been recognised in this way. WiRE could not exist without the support of its member businesses and business partners and we are sure that they too will welcome this success.”
Principal of Harper Adams, Professor Wynne Jones, added: “The award is a further recognition of the significant role that the university college plays as a centre of excellence within the higher education system, and is the culmination of an extremely successful year for Harper Adams.
“The WiRE team has worked very hard to support this important part of the rural economy and the WiRE programme has proved how successful universities and colleges can be in working with the business sector. We are delighted, and greatly honoured, to have been given this award.”
The Prize, which is awarded every two years to around twenty prizewinners on each occasion, includes a Prize Medal, the Prize Certificate signed by The Queen and the right to use the Prizes’ logo for a period of four years.
It recognises outstanding achievements by UK universities and colleges that are of a world class level in an existing area of activity. All entries are subject to a rigorous assessment process by independent lay assessors and by the Trust, its committees and officers.