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Harper Adams Students Receive Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Industry

Posted 13 June 2007

The NatWest Award Winners and Judges

Three students from Harper Adams University College have received the renowned NatWest Bank Awards in recognition of their outstanding performance whilst on industrial work placement.

The coveted annual Placement Awards were presented by Mr. Martin Doyle, NatWest Regional Agricultural Manager. He said “A placement student can benefit businesses in a number of ways. They often bring new ideas and fresh enthusiasm to the workplace and generally impress employers with their achievements, attitude and knowledge.  NatWest are pleased to encourage the students at Harper Adams to make the most of this opportunity. The judges were particularly impressed with the confident, factual and measured approach of all the candidates.”

The overall winner of the NatWest Bank Award was Henry Savage who is studying HND Agriculture with Mechanisation. He completed his work placement with British Sugar. Henry was given the opportunity of a varied role and gained experience in several areas. Responsibilities ranged from practical field trail work and workshop maintenance through to updating field trail data and completing presentations at regional and annual conferences.  Henry graduates this summer and intends to return to work on the family farm in Essex work along side his father, expanding the business. He may also possibly top-up his HND to a degree.

Henry who is from Great Dunmow, Essex said “I am extremely pleased to receive this award. The interview with the judging panel was nerve racking but the awards will definitely enhance my CV! I have learnt so much on placement and gained many valuable skills in the work place.” 

The three winners were chosen from seven students who were short-listed and completed a challenging interview that included questioning on their achievements in work placement, future aspirations and their thoughts and concerns of the industry. The judges were; Mr. John Downes, a well-known local mixed organic farmer, Mr. Robert Nelson, local Natwest Agricultural Manager and the Principal, Professor Wynne Jones. 

Working for a year on an industrial placement is a key component of the courses at Harper Adams. It assists to set Harper Adams’ graduates apart from those from other institutions.  Matt Back, Placement Officer said “The combination of industrial and academic experience helps to produce will-rounded individuals that are ready for the work place. It is an excellent way to put theory into practice as well as developing new skills and confidence within the work place. The success of out placements is largely due to the diverse range of opportunities made available from our employers and we appreciate their continued support.” 

Other winners include second placed Catherine Priestley who worked at Gleadell Agriculture, an agricultural merchant. Catherine, who is from West Yorkshire, worked on the retail desk and managed seed and fertiliser ordering and deliveries. She also worked around the business gaining experience in each department, including Farm Trading, Accounts and Grain Sampling.

Charlotte Kemp from Maidstone, Kent came in third. She worked at the Princess Christians, a mixed livestock unit that provides training for adults with learning difficulties.  Charlotte was the day Centre Officer and assisted visitors with tasks on the farm.

Other finalists included; Elliw Evans who worked for the welsh development Agency, Robert Frank who worked at Bryn Farm – a mixed beef, sheep and arable farm, Matthew Kennedy who worked for Bill Allen at Lower Hill Farm – a mixed farm with large commercial sow unit and Graham Knottenbelt who completed a placement at Strawsons Ltd, a large-scale farming business producing arable and vegetable crops.

Many of the employers who had provided work placements for the finalists attended the presentation that was held in the Temperton Room at Harper Adams. Bill Allen from Lower Hill Farm said that he has taken on placement students for over 20 years. He continued to explain that “The work placement is of mutual benefit to employers and students. The students are keen to learn and come to work with such enthusiasm and are very conscientious. They develop as individuals and gain confidence throughout there experience that sets them up for life ahead.”

The success of the placement student initiative has strengthened Harper Adams’ partnerships with industry and is reflected by the commitment of employers.

Harper Adams University College is grateful to NatWest for their continued support and contributions.

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