Two recipients of the highest-value scholarships offered at Harper Adams University have enjoyed an opportunity to have an informal catch-up with their sponsors. Lizzy Andow and Will Taylor are the second and third students to receive full tuition fees scholarships from Rabobank, the leading global food and agricultural bank, under a scheme that aims to encourage new agri-business talent.
Each scholarship comes with support from an industry partner. Marks & Spencer is backing Will, 18, who began his studies at Harper Adams earlier this month. On Wednesday representatives of both Rabobank and M&S visited the campus – giving Will a chance to meet two people he might be working for during his 2016/17 placement year: Head of Agriculture & Fisheries, Steve McLean and Technical Manager, Johnathan Sutton. He said: “After the excitement of finding out that I had been chosen as the Rabobank scholar over the summer, it was great to finally get to Harper Adams, start my degree in agri-food marketing with business studies, and take the first steps towards my future career in the sector.
My interview for the scholarship was held at the M&S headquarters in London – a really interesting day but one when I was firmly focussed on making sure I came across as the best candidate. So it was nice to be able to meet Steve and Johnathan and chat in a more relaxed environment about the M&S business and how I can learn from the company throughout my studies. My experience of agriculture so far has been through my family’s sheep and arable operations, so I look forward to gaining wider knowledge and experience through both my placement with M&S and my degree, which is being funded by Rabobank – for which I am very grateful. Having my placement already in hand and with no tuition fee loans hanging over me, I can focus on becoming a successful graduate.”
Fellow Rabobank scholar Lizzy, 19, is being supported by Florette, where she will complete her work placement year in 2015/16. Both she and Will caught up with Rishi Sethi, Rabobank CSR Advisor, during the visit to Harper Adams. Lizzy said: “Seeing Rishi again provided a great opportunity for me to update him on my progression and say how the Rabobank scholarship has benefited my own experience – meeting Johnathan and Steve from Marks & Spencer and discussing agriculture’s role within the retailer being just one example. I would like to thank Rishi for travelling to the University to spend time with Will and myself – the fact that Rabobank make such an effort to get to know us is a credit to the company. I am thoroughly enjoying university life and my course, agri-business. First year provided a broad insight across the agricultural industry and this term we are building on this knowledge and applying it to on- farm scenarios and UK agriculture. During the summer I spent a week at Florette, my placement employer next year, spending time in each department, getting to know the friendly team and familiarising myself with the factory. The week gave me added motivation to study hard this year, especially in the fresh produce module. On placement, I hope to complete a rotation, working through the whole supply chain, from the lettuce fields of the UK and Europe, to the dispatch points to supermarkets.
The first Rabobank scholar, Jacob Irwin, has completed two years of study at Harper Adams University and has now commenced his work placement year with scholarship partner, Yeo Valley.