Five minutes with assistant research technician, Charlotte Elliott
Charlotte has worked for ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of environmental solutions, rural development services and policy advice, since January 2013.
The 24-year-old, who took a foundation degree before topping up to a full BSc (Hons) Animal Management, Health and Welfare, worked on two Canadian beef and grain farms after graduating, and spending her placement year as an Assistant Herdsperson, working with a herd of 1,000 alpacas on Europe’s largest alpaca farm.
What does your job involve?
The day to day care of the animals on our studies such as feeding as well as record keeping of health, behaviour, feeding and veterinary treatments. Assisting the scientific and veterinary staff with sampling and observation of the animals, and keeping strict biosecurity procedures and the animal accommodation clean and tidy.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every day is different and each study is different as you get to work with a variety of livestock.
How did your qualification/ experiences at Harper Adams aid your career?
A degree from Harper Adams on my CV provides prospective employers with an indication of the level of education I had received. Modules I took within my degree have helped me in my current employment and I am now able to put the theory into practise.
Where did you work on placement?
At Bozedown Alpacas, Oxfordshire, where I was an Assistant Herdsperson. The farm had a herd of 1,000 alpacas and I was involved in the day to day care and husbandry of the herd.
What would you do in a typical day?
Management of the herd including feeding and monitoring the animals. Treatment of sick and injured animals, assisting with births, condition scoring, pasture management and general care of the alpacas, including toe nail trimming, vaccinations and shearing. I was also involved in the day to day record keeping relating to breeding, healthcare and movement of the animals. Liaising with clients who were interested in buying animals, and conducting farm tours with groups of disabled adults and groups of children in the Scouts/Brownies.
I particularly enjoyed the responsibility of working with clients and giving farm tours as well as learning how to shear and vaccinate and care for sick animals. These skills were useful as they could be transferred to different species of farm animals.
Did placement enhance your job skills?
I gained the knowledge and experience of how to care for livestock, undertaking everything from calving and assisting with veterinary procedures to the daily management of the herds and these skills have been invaluable when working with other species of livestock. I am constantly using the theory I learnt at Harper Adams and the practical experience I have gained so far to continue my professional development”
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
I liked the rural campus and its reputation as being a good university to study agriculture/animal subjects at. I also liked the fact that it is a small campus without thousands of students so you get to know more people and the lecturers know you better.
I liked the content of the course too, especially as there were lots of large animal/farm modules and this is where my interests lay.
Did it make you more employable?
Yes, because of the reputation that Harper Adams has – everyone in the animal/agriculture industry has heard of it, knows someone who has been or has been themselves!
How did you find the teaching?
Really good. Staff were always willing to help whenever it was needed and everyone was friendly and approachable.
And the facilities?
Really good. The library facilities and teaching rooms were excellent and everything was modern and up-to-date.
What are your favourite memories of uni?
The social life and the people I met. My best friends today are the people I met at Harper Adams.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Work hard (but also play hard), choose the modules that are really of interest to you, take as many opportunities as you can for extra experiences and after your degree go abroad!
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More about animal research jobs: www.adas.co.uk