Five minutes with breeding advisor Poppy Arnett
Poppy graduated in 2008 with a degree in Countryside and Land Management. She is now offers breeding advice and office support to Cogent Breeding Ltd.
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
I visited other universities but I always knew it would be Harper I would attend. It was the atmosphere, the welcome, the reputation and the recommendation.
Did the course make you more employable?
Yes. I had a degree on my CV, but more importantly I had a Harper Adams degree on my CV.
Where did you spend your placement year?
I was a junior surveyor at Balfours Environmental Consultants. I spent most of my time travelling around Shropshire and Mid-Wales with a team mate, visiting farms to do asbestos and environmental surveys … and I loved every minute of it. The best things about placement was travelling around an amazing part of the UK, learning local dialects and visiting some beautiful estates and farms – and getting paid for it!
Do you think placement enhanced your career prospects?
Without a doubt. It’s a cliché and everyone says it, but you go on placement a fresher and return a student. It’s the real world and a little taster of what to expect for the next 40 years of our lives!
What are you doing now you have graduated?
I left a large livestock identification company this time last year and started working with a dairy genetic company - Dairy Daughters, who were part of the Cogent Group. As well as working as a Breeding Advisor I am also the Office Support Manger too. The company is ever expanding, especially now we have merged together with Cogent and World Wide Sires UK to form one team; it’s really exciting to think I will be part of the company going forward. I hope to bring some valuable ideas on board and build some lifelong relationships with farmers. In addition to the sales service offered to farmers for dairy semen and the mating program WMS for their herds, I support the Sales Manager and the day to day running of the office and team, I head the E-Marketing team and I am charge of health and safety and personnel in the South West office.
What skills/experience was your employer looking for?
Diversity and innovation - having up to date ideas and fresh knowledge is key. Farming in the future is about the younger generation and having studied at the best agricultural university was a massive advantage for me! I know them – I studied with them!
How has your time at Harper Adams helped your career?
It’s a reference point. You only have to mention that you studied at Harper Adams and someone knows someone who ‘studied this’ or ‘lectured in this’. The name speaks for itself.
Do you think being a graduate made a difference to your position and salary?
Yes, absolutely. I won’t lie, it was difficult after graduation to secure a job – it was at the start of the recession. It took over six months for me to get a job. But, what made me stand out in front of the other candidates were the words ‘Harper’ and ‘Adams’.
What advice do you have for future students interested in doing a similar job?
Your career path is like our British weather! Unexpected and unreliable. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know what you want to do when you graduate. Learning a range of subjects will assist you – you will be able to apply yourself to many situations and that may mean you will stand out from the crowd.
What do you think of the teaching and facilities at Harper Adams?
Both are excellent. I kept in contact with several lecturers who were genuinely interested in how our careers were going. The facilities are modern and fresh, the whole of campus is continuously changing.
What are your favourite memories of Harper Adams?
The whole experience. The vast network of friends. I would do it all again!