Anna Holdcroft graduated in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) Animal Science and returned to a graduate role at HJ Lea Oakes, the animal feed company with which she spent her placement year.
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
It was the best agricultural university to allow me to enter the industry I want to work in. I was also attracted by the placement year,
What were the best things about your course?
The people I have met and worked with and the subjects I have covered are very applicable to what I will need in the future.
What skills/knowledge did you gain that have been useful after graduating?
Confidence and agricultural knowledge.
What sort of projects did you get involved in at university?
My dissertation was a DairyCo project investigating the use of lucerne silage on the milk fatty acid profile of high yielding dairy cows.
How would you describe Harper Adams?
Friendly, fun and a community in itself.
And the social life?
Fantastic. The best part is probably Wednesday nights (especially in my first year) and the themed Freshers', Christmas, Paddy's and Summer Balls.
Did you explore Shropshire and beyond campus?
We enjoyed walking in the local area, Ironbridge Gorge and the Wrekin.
What else did you do in your spare time?
I was a student ambassador, a member of Uttoxeter YFC, play the piano and am a season ticket holder to Stoke City FC.
Where did you spend your placement year?
At H J Lea Oakes, an animal feed manufacturer with mills based in Cheshire and Shropshire. I was responsible for raw material import documentation, finished feed contracts, silage analysis, quality control analysis and helping at shows, among many other things.
What would you do in a typical day?
Check emails, communicate with customers, do any quotes, go to the mill and take relevant documentation to load onto the system. I would carry out quality control analysis and any other jobs requirements on that day.
Were you able to use anything you learned on placement in your final year?
Yes, lots of applied knowledge about feeding, animal nutrition and crop production were useful.
What support did you receive from the placement team?
Two visits during the twelve month placement and several emails; they were always contactable if needed, though I did not have any problems.
How did placement help your future career?
I secured a graduate job and already had a year’s worth of experience.
What is your role now?
I am a graduate management trainee. During placement they saw my strengths and abilities. They wanted someone with good communication and IT skills, the ability to work independently, take and understand instructions and to work as part of a team.
Do you think being a graduate makes a difference to your career prospects?
Yes definitely. I would not have been offered a management role with accompanying salary had I not been a graduate. The position offered depends upon my graduating.
What advice do you have for a student interested in a similar career path?
Work as hard as you can, show enthusiasm and determination, and you will succeed.