Harriet Jones – Harper Student at Large!
Born and raised in the Newport area, the reputation of the Harper Adams culture was well known to me! It seemed the obvious place to study Rural Estate and Land Management as the countryside is my passion and the work of a Chartered Surveyor, particularly the valuation aspect of the work, has always been of interest to me. I was delighted to be offered a place at this prestigious university but the thought of finally becoming a Harper student felt very real and very daunting!
Many of my friends had warned me that unlike sixth form, universities often have thousands of students and the likelihood of befriending people from other courses can be slim. However, compared with many other universities, Harper has a relatively small campus and consequently has a strong sense of community which was a very pleasant surprise. The friends I have made, not just on my course but through various extra-curricular activities particularly netball, have become like a family as we look out for and take care of each other.
I had some idea of what the REALM course would involve and was looking forward to learning about valuations but I had no idea of the diverse modules we would cover in the first two years. I have been excited to learn about the planning system and how much impact Local Planning Authorities have on decision-making. Taxation has been another module which has been of great interest. We are all only too aware of tax generally but I now have a much better understanding of when different tax needs to be applied and how it is calculated.
Before I joined the course I was lucky enough to do some work experience with Barbers Rural, a well-established firm of Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents in Market Drayton. Since commencing the course I have retained close links with the firm, working for them in the holidays and have now secured a full-time position with them during my placement year. During the summer last year I assisted Senior Surveyor, Dan Bowden, in multiple applications for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and so was delighted when, at the beginning of my second year, the assignment brief for my Agriculture and the Environment module was to do a Countryside Stewardship application for the Harper Adams farm!
My work experience has helped enormously and the more I work with Barbers Rural, the more I appreciate the relevance of the course to real live situations in a busy rural surveyors’ office. I find I can relate to what is being discussed both in the office and out and about on farm. It is such a pleasant surprise not to feel in the dark and everything I learn about is extremely relevant – how the two link together is fantastic!
I couldn’t be happier or prouder to say that I have been offered my placement at Barbers Rural and I can return to work there for a year in July 2016. I am so excited to get back into the real life working environment and discuss real life case studies – it really puts the learning into perspective. Barbers Rural is a vibrant family business and I will also have the benefit of working one day a week with Barbers Auctions in the Livestock Market which will help me develop my livestock knowledge. It’s going to be a busy year!