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    Mum of three takes on Fresh Start research project

    Posted 29 June 2008

    Harper Adams University College has welcomed a new research student, who will be investigating the effectiveness of Fresh Start Academies across England.

    Christine Owen, 44, from Foel, near Welshpool, Mid Wales, completed an MBA at the Shropshire university college in 2006 and has returned for three years as a Phd student.

    Fresh Start is a Defra-supported all-industry initiative which was established in 2004 to encourage young rural entrepreneurs to consider making their career in farming or other rural related businesses.

    The first academy was established in Sussex in 2005/6 and there are now 17 academies operating across the country. The Fresh Start Academy involves three elements – business skills training, mentoring and the possibility of identifying business opportunities via a match making network. For more information on Fresh Start visit

    Mother-of-three Mrs Owen, who in partnership with her husband runs a 300-acre HCC demonstration sheep farm, initially trained as a nurse. Between stints at Harper Adams, she completed a post-graduate certificate in HR to compliment the MBA.

    Having been attracted to learning later in life, Mrs Owen is keen to assist people in finding and taking the right study and career paths – a desire also supported by her role as an ambassador for Lantra, the Skills Council for the environmental and land-based sector.

    "Life long learning opens so many doors and gives you the skills necessary to prepare for change, particularly in agriculture and rural industry, juggling learning and other commitments has become normal for us"

    "I was keen to continue my professional development at Harper Adams University College, having benefitted from the excellent teaching and support I experienced during the MBA course"

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